JFA hosts summer Shabbat dinner


Credit: Sandra Koretz/Chronicle

AN EASYGOING EVENING: Jewish Family Alliance (JFA) members mingle as they enjoy the food provided at the summer JFA Shabbat dinner.

Natalie Cosgrove

Harvard-Westlake Jewish Family Alliance (HWJFA) hosted their first Shabbat potluck dinner Aug. 20. The gathering was a back-to-school celebration allowing student members to sing blessings and discuss religion.

Before the club members ate dinner, they performed a candle-lighting and held a blessing service. The event was held outdoors and each person in attendance was fully vaccinated.

News Section and Photography Editor Sandra Koretz ’22 and her HWJFA co-leader Gabe Glassman ’22 said they will host more events throughout the year to promote community among Jewish members of the school.

“Our main goal, in general, is to aim to educate the community and bring awareness to certain issues either within our community or internationally,” Gabe Glassman said. “We want to educate people and guide them into making their own conclusions about what is happening. I think overall our goal is making the community a better place and a more inclusive and safer environment for all.”

Throughout the school year, HWFJA will plan more Shabbat dinners and host guest speakers. HWJFA parent co-chairs Susan Lynch (Alexandra ’20, Danielle ’23) and Shana Glassman (Jessa ’20, Gabe ’22, Samuel ’24), who helped organize the event, said the service and dinner were student-led. At each event, Lynch said she strives to create an inclusive environment for all Jews and Jewish allies.

“For the [HWJFA] , this is just part of our mission statement to develop and create events for the community that represent our tradition and culture,” Lynch said. “Everyone is welcome. We’re certainly greatly inclusive. But for the most part, this was just done in good spirit out of the community and [HWJFA] wanting to create just another avenue of possibilities for students to come together and participate in any way that they can [in order] to bring everyone together and represent a bit of Judaism.”

Shana Glassman said she tries to facilitate inclusive conversations at HWJFA gatherings between Jews on different ends of the of religious and political spectrums.

“In terms of political issues, our goal is to provide education and learning opportunities,” Shana Glassman said. “We’re not going to weigh in on issues because it’s not really our place to do that but [instead] give [students] , [students’] peers and other parents like us tools to learn about the issues and to make their own decisions.”