Spending my first Shabbat in Bnei Brak really shook me up.
Shabbat itself was exalted and wonderful, as you would imagine. The aura of spirituality and the quiet tranquility that permeated the city was intoxicating. There was a feeling of serenity that I had never before experienced. But the realization that Yom Kippur in my neighborhood of Tel Aviv was treated with significantly less holiness than the weekly Shabbat was treated in Bnei Brak hit me with tremendous force. A force that was so powerful that it that galvanized my own personal commitment to keep Shabbat the way it was really meant to be kept.
It was now my third year attending Shuvu Tel Aviv and the support system the school staff provided helped me actualize my pledge.
Easy it wasn’t. It meant avoiding the blaring television that was turned on immediately following my father’s Friday night Kiddush. It meant walking 45 minutes each Shabbat morning in any weather — cold rain or blazing sun — so that I join with my family who would simply drive over to my grandmother for a visit. I would even work on creating games and fun activities throughout the week so that by the time Shabbat rolled around, I would be able to entertain my younger sibling and minimize their Chilul Shabbat.
With immense Siyata Dishmaya, I switched to Bet Yaakov Holon for 7th and 8th grade and continued on to Netivot Rivka Bet Yaakov for High School. My family was very gradually beginning to come to terms with my increasing level of Frumkeit.
The first Shabbat of my 9th grade school year was a pivotal one for me and for my family. As I prepared to leave on my solitary trek to my grandmother, my mother met me at the bottom of the stairs with a proud smile lighting up her face. For the very first time, in honor of Shabbat, my family was going to join me walking to Savta! As I jubilantly walked alongside my parents and siblings I sensed something extraordinary in the air. Suddenly, I recognized that it was that feeling of serenity that was surrounding us. It was the aura of spirituality and the quiet tranquility that I had experienced in Bnei Brak. It was at that moment that I had the realization that Kedushah is not contained in any one place; it exists wherever you let it in.
Now, just a few short years later, my entire family is Shomer Shabbat! My mother recently starting dressing according to the laws of Tzniut and even wears a Shaitel. My younger brothers attend Yeshivat Yam Shel Shlomo on Moshav Chemed. As for myself, I graduated seminary in Ofakim and I currently work as the Gannenet in Shuvu Bat Yam. I am married and have two adorable chidren b”h.
As I said when my mother told me that she has begun wearing skirts — and at each of the many other such junctures along the way-Hodu LaShem Ki Tov! It had taken so many tefillos and so much Siyata Dishmaya to get to this point and I am profoundly grateful!
Shuvu is now celebrating its 25th Anniversary since its founding in 1990 by Moreinu Horav Avrohom Pam, zt”l. Over that period there have been many challenges to overcome, but, also a tremendous amount of nachas as we see Rav Pam’s dreams being fulfilled. Matzav.com is proud to present a weekly series of nachas grams so that you can see for yourself what Shuvu has been able to accomplish.