At Seaside Seminar, Connecting Latvian Jews

Children gather at a JDC-supported family weekend in Latvia.
Children gather at a JDC-supported family weekend in Latvia. photo: Courtesy of Martin Levi

More than 90 people – young Jews and their children from all over Latvia – traveled to the seaside on the Gulf of Riga Oct. 11-13 for a JDC-supported family weekend.

The seminar’s topic was “Shalom Bayit,” and parents had the chance to hear lectures and participate in workshops centered on family life and Jewish education led by professional experts and fellow parents eager to share their experiences.

At the same time, a team of madrichot (counselors) from Riga’s Jewish youth center was taking care of the children – leading them in Israeli dances, arts and craft workshops, and other activities.

The weekend, which began with a meet-and-greet, included a Shabbat program where families could visit different stations to get in the spirit of the holiday. In addition to the lectures and workshops, participants got to compete as a family team in a variety of contests – a photo hunt, a talent show, and a Jewish trivia competition, among others.

“The mood was great during the whole weekend and it succeeded in making all of the participants one big Jewish family,” said Martin Levi, JDC’s program coordinator in Latvia.

The program was prepared and led by a team of volunteers through the “Mishpocha Shelanu” program, a grassroots initiative in Latvia started a few years ago by a few Jewish families with small children who wanted the chance to spend time together in a Jewish environment.

With JDC support for the program, many young Jewish families in Latvia now meet each month for different Jewish activities and celebrate Jewish holidays together. 

For more information on JDC’s work in Latvia: http://www.jdc.org/where-we-work/europe/baltics.html

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