JFA holds monthly Shabbat dinner


Georgia Grad/Chronicle

LIGHTING IT UP: Sammy Glassman ’24 and Danielle Leibzon ’24 light a candle with other members of JFA as a part of event celebrations.

Georgia Grad and Madeline Pimstone

The Harvard-Westlake Jewish Family Alliance (HWJFA) hosted Shabbat dinner Dec. 2.

HWJFA, founded in 2020,organizes activities and events throughout the year. The foundation aims to connect Jewish people to their heritage and educate non-Jewish students about the Jewish community, according to the HWJFA website.

The event started with attendees gathering to light candles, drink grape juice and eat challah.

JFA member Kate Goldberg ’25 said she especially enjoyed attending the dinner in light of recent antisemitic events that have occurred on campus.

“I think having this Shabbat was really good because it was nice to know that other people in the school community and around me were feeling the same way I was,” Goldberg said. “During times like these, it is really comforting to have so many people around you going through the same things, which is why I think JFA is important.”

JFA Co-Chair Kayla Graiwer ’23 said her favorite part about JFA is attending the Shabbat dinners, as they allow her to connect with other people.

“JFA has built a tight-knit Jewish community and I have made friends that I probably would not have met otherwise,” Graiwer said. “JFA Shabbats are always a really comforting and fun time that I look forward to. They are a great way for Jewish students to connect and get to know each other.”

Social Co-Chair Danielle Leibzon ’24, who helps plan JFA events, said she looks forward to future gatherings and enjoys seeing members socializing.

“I love inviting different people to the Shabbat dinners and helping plan them,” Leibzon said. “I think seeing everyone together and everyone from different grades hanging out together was my favorite part.”

JFA member Lily Stambouli ’24 said she loved playing White Elephant, a game in which participants receive wrapped gifts and can choose to swap them with others.

“I really like games like White Elephant because I think it’s fun to come together with JFA members as well as others and have a joyous holiday celebration,” Stambouli said. “I love eating pizza dinners in a circle, communally, [and] just having really great conversationss as a group.”