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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Sephardim in the City

This past Shabbat the Sephardic history elective class taught by Mrs. Wielgus had the first ever "Sephardim in the City" shabbaton at the Safra Synagogue in Manhattan. We started the experience off with manicures and lunch. Then, we went to Oh Nuts to buy some "nosh" for our weekend. After the train ride to Manhattan we arrived at the Safra Synagogue where we met Mrs. Beyda, mother of Assistant Principal Rabbi Joseph Beyda, who gave each of us a bag of snacks for Shabbat. After that we attempted Citi Bikes, but had some technical difficulties so we ended up going to Sony Wonder-World.
We then met our host families, prepared for Shabbat, and met back at the Safra Synagogue, where we prayed Mincha and Arbit. The minyan had an international flavor- we met people from France and London who ate with us at our host, Rabbi Dr. Elie Abadie and his family. We all introduced ourselves and got to know each other. Sarah Cohen gave a Dvar Torah on Parashat Behar and Rabbi Abadie gave us an overview of Sephardic history. We ended off with some Pizmonim, a typical way to end off a Sephardic Seudat Shabbat. On Saturday morning, some students went to an interactive youth minyan led by Flatbush's very own Oriel and Michael Abadie, the rabbi's sons. The others attended a beautiful service in the main minyan followed by a lavish kiddush, where we got to mingle with the Safra congregation. After that, was Seudat Shabbat where we had the opportunity to hear from Mrs. Esti Abadie. She spoke to us about the famous Sephardic women in Jewish history. Once again we ended off with Pizmonim.
Shabbat afternoon, we went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which has a Shabbat-observer no payment program! We walked through all the galleries and saw outstanding paintings and sculptures. Best of all was the rooftop garden, especially since we had gorgeous weather! We then enjoyed our walk to Mrs. Beyda's house, where we sat and noshed (again). We went back to Safra Synagogue for an interesting class on Yeshayahu by Mrs.  Esti Abadie. That was followed by Seuda Shelishit with lots of Pizmonim led by a special hazan. We ended off the evening with Havdalah.  Unfortunately, it was time to say goodbye to the Safra Synagogue and to our hosts. It was an amazing weekend thanks to Mrs. Wielgus! ~Sarah Cohen