Record Turnout at ‘Special’ Kansas Shabbat Shabang

Posted on April 16, 2024

A record crowd of over 40 Kansas teens attended a citywide Shabbat Shabang at the end of March – and participants say this one just felt “special.”

“We all knew that this was the last [Shabbat Shabang] of the year and the last for so many people,” says Rayli Kopelman, a junior at HBHA. “Another aspect was that we had so many new people, and it was amazing to see them get involved.”

Sarah Natanova, a freshman at Blue Valley Northwest, says the sheer number of participants made all the difference.

“The highlight was honestly just being surrounded by other Jews,” says Sarah. “Especially since I go to a public school, being around other people that understand me on another level felt really good.”

Sarah adds that she has “felt embarrassed wearing my Star of David necklace to school because of antisemitism, but I felt confident doing it in a group of Jewish teens.”

The Shabbat Shabang included meals hosted by a local family, Shalosh Seudot at Congregation BIAV, and a spirited Chopped competition on Saturday night.

Rayli and Sarah both say they are looking forward to future Shabbat Shabangs.

“They are so fun and I love [the] singing, dancing, hanging out together, and meeting other new people,” says Sarah. “Also, I love the advisors. They are so inspirational, humorous, and their personalities are amazing.”

“I would always recommend any NCSY event to anyone,” adds Rayli. “But Shabbat Shabang is the event that all the teens and community members look forward to. It is the thing that is able to give us chizuk [strength] and lift us up just when we need it.”