Jewish student Shabbaton in Prague

Last week, Prague became the vibrant backdrop for a remarkable event – a Shabbaton that brought together Jewish students from across Europe. Organized collaboratively by the various Chabad on Campus chapters in Europe, this gathering was not just a weekend getaway; it was a celebration of Jewish identity, community, and companionship.

Representing the Dutch chapter of Chabad on Campus, a delegation of 15 students from universities in Wageningen, Rotterdam, Leiden, and Amsterdam journeyed to Prague. Coordinated by Esty and Yanki Jacobs of Chabad on Campus Netherlands, this group embarked on an enriching experience that left a lasting impression.

For many participants, like one student who described it as “one of the most Jewish things I ever did,” the Shabbaton was a profound encounter with their heritage. Attending for example the Havdala service during the event, some for the first time in their lives, highlighted the significance of this gathering. “But it’s not just about religion,” Rabbi Yanki Jacobs emphasized. “It’s about Jewish identity and companionship. A Jewish community cannot thrive without people coming together.”

Jonathan, a medical student from Maastricht, echoed this sentiment, noting the scarcity of Jewish students at his university. “At some universities, there are just four Jewish students out of a total of 20,000,” he explained. “In such cases, meeting other like-minded young Jews is the only opportunity to experience Judaism authentically, without having to explain or apologize for it. It’s just nice to be together.”

Yet, the Shabbaton was a blend of fun, education, and camaraderie. Activities ranging from laser shooting to a boat party added a layer of excitement, fostering bonds among participants. More importantly, it infused everyone with a much-needed dose of positivity.

As Michal, a student from Amsterdam, succinctly put it, “We will be back next year!”


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