Photos: Shimi Kutner/COLlive
This past weekend, 300 Jews from all walks of life gathered for three days of learning and inspiration, world-class kosher dining and entertainment at Chabad of Northwest CT’s family retreat.
Guests were treated to inspiring lectures by Rabbi Yaakov Barber from Australia and a grand concert with Chasidic superstar Avraham Fried.
A 24 hour tea room, private swim and fitness hours, along with friendly camaraderie between participants rounded out the annual retreat experience, which took place at the recently renovated Courtyard by Marriott in Waterbury, CT.
Due to popular demand, this year’s retreat is taking place over two weekends this Chanukah, with the second one coming up next Shabbos featuring Rabbi Manis Friedman and entertainment by superstar Gad Elbaz.
The retreat is coordinated by Rabbi Joseph and Mina Eisenbach, who together co-direct Chabad of Northwest CT.
Friday night after Davening led by Chazan Yisrael Baumgarten and a gourmet Seudas Shabbos, guests were delighted to be led in zemiros by singing star Avraham Fried.
To cater to all the guests, there were 2 different Shachris minyanim, followed by an elaborate gourmet Kiddush with fish stations and full bar. Afterwards, there was a sit down main course by renowned event planner and caterer David Teyf of Legendary Affairs in New York City.
On Motzei Shabbos, the brightness of the Chanukah Menorahs took on an extra shine when one witnessed the many types of Jews, externally differently dressed but inside all the same Neshama. From traditional Chabad garb to shtreimels and bekishas, from Modern Orthodox to Yeshivish, from Sefardi to Ashkenazi, the feeling of Achdus was palpable.
Following an elaborate buffet Melaveh Malka, guests enjoyed a full concert by Avraham Fried accompanied by the Fitche Benshimon band. The energy was electrifying and it was most enjoyable to see the crowd dancing and singing to Fried’s hit songs.
On Sunday morning after a full breakfast buffet, many participants joined for the nearby Chanukah on the Slopes with snow tubing, skiing and kosher deli.
Next week’s Shabbaton is sold out, but there are still rooms available for the Chanukah on the Slopes package, including hotel stay for Sunday night.