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Try A Synagogue to sponsor ‘Community Shabbaton’

SPRINGFIELD — The Try A Synagogue program is sponsoring a Community Shabbaton with a host of opportunities for all ages on Oct. 28 to 30.
A Shabbaton is a program of education and celebration that takes place on Shabbat (Jewish sabbath). The theme of this Shabbaton is “Meeting the Challenges of Change” and the weekend’s events will explore times of extraordinary transition, both past and present. Dr. David Elcott will be the scholar-in-residence, and will explore the many facets of personal and communal change.
Trained in political psychology and Middle East affairs at Columbia University and Judaic studies at the American Jewish University, Elcott is the Taub Professor of Practice in Public Service and Leadership at the Wagner School of Public Service at New York University, senior research fellow at the Research Center for Leadership in Action and faculty director of Wagner’s Executive MPA program.
He has spent the last 25 years at the intersection of community building, the search for a theory of cross-boundary engagement, and interfaith and ethnic activism. His present research is focused on the baby-boomer cohort, encore careers, and public service. He was formerly the vice president of the National Center for Learning and Leadership, a think-tank tasked with rethinking contemporary community and civic obligation.
As Interreligious Affairs director of the American Jewish Committee and as the executive director of the Israel Policy Forum, Elcott has addressed a wide array of public policy issues and has built interfaith and interethnic coalitions to address Middle East peace, immigration reform, civil liberties and workers’ rights. He has written “A Sacred Journey: The Jewish Quest for a Perfect World” and numerous articles and monographs on power and war, minority civic engagement, and cross cultural pluralism.
He has represented the Jewish community in interfaith settings in Europe, South America, and Asia.
The Shabbaton programs are open to the entire community, and synagogue membership is not necessary to participate in any of the events.
The Community Shabbaton kicks off on Oct. 28 with services at Congregation B’nai Torah (Orthodox) at 5:35 p.m.; Sinai Temple (Reform) and Temple Beth El (Conservative) will host a joint service in the Heritage Academy Auditorium at 5:45 p.m. At 6:45 p.m., a festive community Shabbat dinner will be at Congregation B’nai Torah, culminating with the presentation by Elcott. The cost of the dinner is $18 for adults, $10 for children 3 to 12, with a maximum per family of $54.
On Friday and Saturday, a PJ Library program will be offered for children during Elcott’s presentations and dinner and lunch so that families with children can attend.
On Oct. 29, Shabbat services are open for anyone to attend at all congregations. At 12:15 p.m., a community lunch will take place at Temple Beth El with Elcott (no charge, RSVP required).
Elcott will facilitate a program with teens at 3 p.m. At 7:30 p.m., a havdallah and dessert program will be for Federation’s Young Adult Division at the home of Harold Grinspoon and Diane Troderman.
On Oct. 30, a brunch with Elcott for synagogue and agency Board members (no charge, RSVP required) will take place at 9 a.m. at Sinai Temple.
“The Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts is proud to partner with our synagogues to bring this type of community-building programming to our area,” Federation President Steve Dane said.
Individuals and businesses are encouraged to consider making a donation to help defray the costs of this Community Shabbaton. Sponsorships are available at the Bronze ($72), Silver ($154), and Gold ($360) levels.
To RSVP for any of the Community Shabbaton programs, visit the Federation’s website at www.jewishwesternmass.org.
For more information, contact Debbie Peskin at 737-4313 ext. 121.
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