YAD Shabbat continues tradition at Denver Botanic Gardens Blossoms of Light

One night after the last night of Hanukkah, more than 120 members of JEWISHcolorado’s Young Adult Division (YAD) gathered for their traditional YAD Shabbat at the Denver Botanic Gardens. The weather could not have been better, and the evening was marked by hugs and laughter as new and old friends reconnected.

“Any time we can gather at the Botanic Gardens, especially to see lights, it’s a special evening.” Tamara Berkman

Tamara Berkman, Rachel Silvestain, and Adam Laarsen at YAD Shabbat at Denver Botanic Gardens

“It’s a tradition! We have been doing YAD Shabbats at the Botanic Gardens and looking at beautiful lights for years now and there is something really special about it.” Rachel Silvestain

Lighting candles at 2023 YAD Shabbat: Find the Light

“This Shabbat is particularly special because we are going into the traditional new year and that makes it a good time to get people together. With everything going on in Israel, it is important to get the Jewish community together to shine a light and be that light in the world.” Adam Laarsen

YAD Shabbat: Find the Light 2023

“I’ve been to the YAD Shabbat at the Botanic Gardens for the last three or four years and the lights here are amazing. You get to experience that and it’s the end of the year, so you get to talk to people about how your year went and what they are looking forward to for next year.” Phill Kaplan

2023 YAD Shabbat: Find the Light

“The past few months have been such a hard time for the world and especially the Jewish community, so it feels important for us to come together and share some light and be in our community. I hope this lifts everyone’s spirits.” Tamara Berkman

YAD Shabbat 2023

“The Young Adult community in Denver has grown over recent years and this event is a great way to showcase to young Jewish adults what we, as YAD, are all about. For the young adult community, this is a landing place. They know they have a place to go that is welcoming and spreads love and light.” Adam Laarsen

YAD Shabbat: Find the Light at Botanic Gardens

“At YAD, there is something for everyone. Ambassadors plan small gatherings for people. And then we have the bigger events like YAD Shabbats. You can find something you enjoy. Everyone can find their niche.” Rachel Silvestain

YAD Shabbat Find the Light 2023

“I come to YAD for the sense of community. After living through COVID-19 restrictions, I think now more than ever, people want to be connected and share their experiences. When we have all felt lonely for so many different reasons, it’s just important that we have a place to go, and that we provide others a place to gather.” Tamara Berkman

YAD Shabbat: Find the Light 2023

“You get to meet see old friends you might not see every week or month. And there are always new people that show up at YAD events. I’m sure there are people who have met at these events, and they are now a couple, or they are married. So you never know!” Phill Kaplan

YAD Shabbat: Find the Light 2023

“Hanukkah ended last night, so to have a get-together with the theme of bringing light into the darkness of everything that has been going on and to celebrate Shabbat in a big public setting is really important.” Rachel Silvestain

Denver Botanic Gardens Blossoms of Light

“All the YAD Shabbats are fun, but this one is set apart. I love the Botanic Gardens anyway, so I love coming here any season. To see the lights and to be able to walk around and experience it with your friends is wonderful. I can’t describe a better feeling.” Adam Laarsen