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Residents of the Moishe House in Minsk recently partnered with JDC’s Hesed social welfare center in the Belarusian capital city for a special Shabbat event.
To get a taste of the event, we checked in with 80-year-old Vera to see what made it so extraordinary.
"Today, Shabbat was special for me. That's for sure! I visit all the Shabbats events, in any weather and any time of year,” she said. “It’s so nice to spend time with the younger generation, who honor the traditions.”
We asked Moishe House Minsk resident Tanya Shteinbuk how “Shabbat with Hesed” came together.
Q: What was the spark of inspiration for this event?
A: The coordinator of the Jewish volunteer movement here in Minsk floated the idea to us. Young people here had never spent Shabbat with Hesed before. We thought it was a great idea and a chance for a “celebration” — for us and for the elderly.
Q: What was the most powerful part of the event?
A; “Shabbat with Hesed” is rather different from all the Shabbat events we’ve held earlier. The atmosphere was very warm and sincere, and there were more than 30 people. All the prayers were accompanied by music; our Eugene played along on guitar. It was really very touching and exciting. After the blessing over the challah, some of the elderly sang songs and read poems, too.
Q: Why is it important to have events with the elderly?
A: It is very important to gain experience, which the elderly have. We have a lot to learn from them. They are the storehouses of knowledge and traditions. We appreciate spending time together with the older generation.
Q: How have Moishe House and JDC impacted your Jewish identity?
A: Moishe House and JDC give me the opportunity to get to know new people. Each person has their own history, knowledge, and Jewish values. Talking with them, I ask them questions, and I ask myself a lot of questions. Moishe House and JDC’s activities and programs are very multifaceted, it allows us to approach the issue of studying Jewish history and culture from different sides.
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