SYDNEY, Australia — Silver service and sand combined last Friday night as Sydney’s Our Big Kitchen hosted over 60 diners for a Shabbat service and dinner on iconic Tamarama Beach.
“The night started with the Friday night prayers led by Greg Nathan with almost all of the 60 guests plus staff and other worshippers joining to bring this special night in with loud singing and great spirit” Rabbi Dovid Slavin, Director of OBK said.
“We made kiddish together and then moved from the Beach shule to the dinner tables set on the sand itself where we enjoyed a 3 course meal, singing and loud benching – the ruach was amazing” Rabbi Slavin enthused.
The railing circling the beach above its cliffs was packed with onlookers many of whom were witnessing a Shabbat dinner albeit well-removed from the norm for the first time…and many of them thinking to was a wedding party.
The idea was the brain-child of Leah Greengarten, a OBK stalwart.
“Over the past years I have helped organise a number of singles nights at OBK – we even had a marriage come out of our very first dinner” Ms Greengarten said.
“I went to Rabbi Slavin and OBK’s General Manager, Greg Fisher, with this idea of having a Shabbat on the beach as I just thought what more spiritual and magnificent way could there possibly be to celebrate Shabbos together and I was thrilled to get their immediate support” Greengarten said.
The logistics were a huge issue for OBK.
“Not only did we have a large off-site event to manage and cater, we also had the myriad of logistical issues to comply with Shabbat itself” Mr Fisher said.
“We erected an eruv and organised the catering to arrive just before Shabbat commenced so as to keep the food in top condition – I had a brilliant team who, under Rabbi Slavin’s watchful eye, learnt so much about Judaism including the measuring requirements to achieve a complying eruv, etc. It was a lot of fun and everyone worked so hard to ensure the evening went without a hitch” Fisher said.
During the main course, Rabbi Slavin gave a drasha in which he asked everyone to consider just how fortunate we are in Australia.
“To be able to come out into the open and share our culture with Jews and non-Jews alike, to have received such great support from Waverley Council and even people on the beach during the day helping out should not be taken for granted”, Rabbi Slavin said.
The evening concluded with a few words from OBK’s co-founder, Laya Slavin.
“I told everyone that my own little daughter wakes up every morning and asks me when Shabbos is as this is her favourite time of the week. I said that I hoped we all could have a child’s innocent voice within us asking when we can just stop, put away our phones and other disruptions and simply yearn to be together in pure happiness and the spirit which joined us all at Tamarama for this unique and special Shabbos” Laya Slavin said.
The program will be repeated later in the year.
“The night was a huge success with everyone looking forward to doing it again. We hope to be able to increase the numbers next time as the demand to attend last Friday night was just huge and many people missed out” Leah Greengarten said.
Rabbi Slavin told J-Wire: “We built a mechitsa and renamed the beach ‘The Sandless Shul”.