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SASI Shabbaton in Tzfat

For students on Telfed’s SASI programme (South Africans Studying in Israel), the experience of studying at world-class Israeli universities is not limited to the classroom. The programme, supported by The Eric and Sheila Samson Foundation, aims to give South African students a real feel for life in Israel. Following the successful graffiti tour in Tel Aviv, our SASI contingent recently spent a magical shabbat in Tzfat.

Simone Pikas, the head of Telfed’s SASI programme, wrote: ‘After we arrived in Tzfat on Friday morning, we went on a tour of some art galleries and met with local artists. Glass-blower, Sheva Chaya, told us her story of how she got to Tzfat and her connection to Judaism, Israel and art.’ 

SASI students and coordinators stayed at ‘Ascent’, where they enjoyed a musical Kabbalat Shabbat that included meditative tunes before the women went to light shabbat candles. A traditional shabbat dinner followed with the local rabbi. On Saturday morning, students were taken on a guided tour by a local Kabbalistic artist who shared ancient, mystical stories that related to his art.

Over Shabbat lunch, the rabbi encouraged participants to share a meaningful story. It was during this gathering that our students crossed paths with a South African lone soldier who shared his Aliyah story and spoke of his experiences in the army as a commander in the paratroopers’ unit. This was followed by a question and answer session with the Rabbi about Israel and Judaism. Shabbat ended with a musical Havdalah.

For our students, this weekend offered more than a glimpse of the enchanting city of Tzfat. Students had an opportunity to get to know each other and to enjoy a unique experience in the company of other SASI students. Leah, said: ‘I am so caught up in school and work that I don’t ever get a chance to travel around the country and see its beauty.’ Josh added: ‘this is what Israel is to me, the land, the nature. I never thought that Tzfat is this cool and beautiful!’


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