Brighton & Sussex Shabbaton: Optional washing up, compulsory chicken soup!
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Brighton & Sussex Shabbaton: Optional washing up, compulsory chicken soup!

By Helena Baker, London and South-East J-Soc OfficerPwAAizwt

Being London J-Soc Officer, a lot of my work happens in London. So, it is rare I get to travel outside of the capital city and even rarer that my job allows me an overnight stay. So I was excited, to say the least, as I hopped on the train last Friday to go to Brighton for their annual south east coast Shabbaton.

Despite having to navigate my way through the (extremely) windy city and getting lost on the way to Hillel (which was embarrassingly, two yards away from my hotel,) I made it in one piece to the Brighton Hillel House.

What struck me about Brighton J-Soc is how friendly and welcoming the committee is, representing Jewish Students from different backgrounds and dominations.

Everyone is made to feel welcome (including myself) at this small yet incredibly active Jewish Society allowing for a vibrant and inclusive atmosphere on Shabbat.

The committee organised everything, providing a delicious, and impressive three course Friday night dinner and an intruiging talk by renowned informal educator Maureen Kendler (herself an ex-student of Sussex University) on Purim.

It was great to see a Society unite over Friday night dinner with optional washing, compulsory chicken soup and cross-communal bensching using our very own UJS and Limmud benschers.

Whilst the walk back to my hotel on Friday night through Brighton was somewhat different to my usual walk in Golders Green, I made it back to my hotel unscathed (and without getting lost) ready for the next day.

Shabbat day found everyone at Chabad, for a lovely lunch followed by games and activities. And, of course, as if we hadn’t eaten all day we then proceeded to have a second meal of Schwarma at Hillel House provided by Chaplaincy.

I had a lovely Shabbat with Brighton and Sussex. I was made to feel welcome, included and struck by the strong links present in the entire JSoc.

In fact, I have already booked my ticket to go pay another visit in two weeks….

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