After a crazy week of touring and exploring, Shabbat was exactly what we needed.
Friday night we went to the Gorsky Synagoge in Baku, Saturday morning for Shacharit we visited the Georgian Synagoge and for Mincha we were at the Ashenazi Shul.
Wherever we went we mentioned that we are a group of Gorsky Jews from New York and expressed our appreciation to the local Jews in Baku for being so welcoming and treating us so warmly. No matter where we are all from, which languages we speak, how we look and how for how long we are already exiled, we are brothers and sisters and form one Jewish nation together. In Baku we were able to feel this unity and closeness very deeply.
During Shabbat almost all of our Leadership Fellowship participants gave Divrei Torah (short Torah speeches). Many mentioned that they didn't have any Jewish friends before they became part of the program. Now they have build strong friendships with each other and are very thankful that they have been given this opportunity.
Rav Ashi prepared a Yeshiva style type of learning session during which we learned a little extract of the Talmud. Rav Ashi took us trough us journey from the Rishononim (early scholars), to Tosafot, to Rashi, through the Shulchan Aruch, to the Achroinim (later scholars) and all the way to Rav Moshe Feinstein. The learning session was followed by a group discussion.
All in all, we had an amazing, relaxed, spritually uplifting Shabbat that provied us with strength for the last day of our trip (see next post).