By SHERI ROSENBERG
Nashville BBYO in conjunction with the Tennessee Holocaust Commission was honored to welcome Jack and Sara Beth Cohen as part of BBYO’s ‘Global Shabbat’ campaign last month.
Through the campaign, thousands of teens in hundreds of communities across more than 20 countries – from across North America to the Balkans to Argentina and everywhere in between – were to host simultaneous Friday night, Saturday morning, and Havdalah services.
Designed to unite communities around the world, Global Shabbat allows teens to gather together for powerful and engaging Shabbat programming with their local communities, while being a part of a collective global experience.
“In a time filled with pervasive racial and ethnic injustice, rising anti-Semitism and a growing refugee crisis around the world, Global Shabbat is a more important celebration than ever,” said Rae Williams, BBYO’s senior director of movement initiatives. “This year’s theme reminds us to embrace all neighbors across our community, our peoplehood, and our world to recognize that in the end, we are far more similar than we are different.”
Nashville BBYO’s Global Shabbat program featured teen-led Shabbat services, a catered dinner as well as a unique opportunity for teens and other community members to engage with Jack and Sara Beth Cohen, who inspired BBYO teen leaders after hearing their story. Jack shared his story of living in Greece during the Holocaust. He was put in hiding for two years in a monastery. Sara Beth shared with the teens what it was like growing up with a father who was a Holocaust survivor.
“Global Shabbat was such a good experience this past Friday. Not only was I surrounded by my friends but also a Holocaust survivor. Knowing that there are only a few left, I cherished the time we spent with Mr. Cohen,” said Hailey Mittelberg, a sophomore at Franklin High School.
Efraim Hanai, junior at Currey Ingram Academy, shared his thoughts from the night: “His story was incredible; I have never heard anything like it. His story truly shows how important it is to pass on the story of the Holocaust, so we never forget, so it never happens again.” •