The French Connection

In an effort to build projects and connect with NOAM members in other countries, NOAM Paris is embarking on a series of Shabbatons with its fellow NOAM chapters in London and Madrid.

The first Shabbaton in the series was held in London in March when a group of fifteen NOAM members from Paris went to visit two different communities in the UK—New north London Synagogue and the New London Synagogue. Each of the British families hosted two participants, which was another point of interest for the students. While many of the students were shy at first, they quickly made connections with the families.

The NOAM members all spent Shabbat together, including a NOAM Shabbat service where they also held a lively discussion about Parashat Ki Tissa and discussed ideas regarding the transmission of Jewish tradition as well as anti-Semitism. They also enjoyed favorites of the youth group experience, including learning new movements for Birkat HaMazon and an emotional and tuneful Havdalah service with their new friends. On Sunday the entire group enjoyed a trip to one of London’s unique attractions—Harry Potter Warner Bros. Studios.

Among other highlights of the weekend were a tour of the British museum with Rabbi Gordon where they looked at artifacts connected to the Torah and a fascinating discussion on biblical archeology.

The Shabbaton in London was the first of the series to be successfully launched as the previous attempt to hold a Shabbaton in Madrid in September has been delayed until May. In return for their hospitality, a NOAM group from the UK will be visiting Paris for a Shabbaton this coming October.

Future plans from this collaboration also include a NOAM Europe Shabbaton as well as a visit from NOAM UK to the Machane in France during the first two weeks of August.