HomeLocalLocal NewsShabbat Unplugged Leadership Retreat back after three year absence

Shabbat Unplugged Leadership Retreat back after three year absence

By MYRON LOVE After an absence of two years due to the lengthy Covid lockdown, Shabbat Unplugged has returned to an enthusiastic response, according to Winnipeg Hillel Director Raya Margulets.
“We weren’t sure what to expect,” Margulets says. “But everyone who participated was excited to be here and all are looking forward to doing this again next year.”
She reports that this year’s Shabbat Unplugged – which was held at the Lakeview Hecla Resort on the weekend of March 24-26 – attracted 100 university students including a few from Regina, Toronto and Ottawa.
The weekend began with a candle lighting, kiddush and a traditional Shabbat supper. Saturday began with a Shabbat service led by Dr. Sheppy Coodin and some of the students. After-service programs included presentation by a representative of the Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee (CJPAC), StandWithUs Canada, and Reservists on Duty, along with a study of the role of women in the Torah.
“We had a beautiful Havdalah service led by the students at the end of Shabbat,” Margulets notes.
This was the sixth Shabbat Unplugged weekend. The concept was originated in 2016 by Coodin, a science teacher at Gray Academy, and fellow Gray Academy teacher Avi Posen (who made aliyah in 2019) – building on the Shabbatons that Gray Academy had been organizing for the school’s high school students for many years.
The inaugural Shabbat Unplugged was so successful that Coodin and Posen did it again in 2017 and took things one step further by combining their Shabbat Unplugged with Hillel’s annual Shabbat Shabang Shabbaton, which brings together Jewish university students from Winnipeg and other Jewish university students from Western Canada.
“This Shabbat Unplugged was extra special being the first one post Covid,” Coodin observes. “It was nice to see that people wanted to get together.”
He adds that it was “wonderful” working with Margulets, who is a former student of Coodin’s and is now a colleague. She took part in the 2017 Shabbat Unplugged as a student.
“Raya worked incredibly hard to make the weekend a success,” he notes. “There were a lot of details to be worked out for 100 students as well as the presenters.”
The weekend was funded in part by grants from the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba, CJPAC, and StandWithUs Canada, also by a generous gift from the Asper Foundation,
Margulets reports that Hillel’s next program will be an end of semester celebration in partnership with the Asper School of Business, which organizes an annual student exchange program with and the Guilford Glazer Faculty of Business and Management at the Ben-Gurion University (BGU) of the Negev in Israel.
“Many of the students participating in the exchange program aren’t Jewish,” Margulets points out. “We are aiming to provide them with a Jewish cultural experience before they leave for israel.”.

- Advertisement -