During the Passover holiday in March, Seaside’s Jewish community came together for a Seder – the traditional dinner held during the first two nights.
The celebratory evening was thanks to Micah Davis and Michelle Hayes Uhlfelder, who have been working together for the last year and a half to establish an inclusive Jewish community.
Micah, who is the son of town founders Robert and Daryl Davis, met Rabbi Jonathan Crane from Emory University while he was vacationing with his family in Seaside.
The Rabbi offered his help and also suggested they start hosting Friday night Shabbat dinners around the community.
The first Shabbat dinner took place at Michelle’s house with 40 attendees and has only expanded from there.
“It became apparent that these gatherings weren't just an evening of solitary enjoyment but rather a powerful force to bring people together with shared beliefs … and great food, which is of utmost importance in Jewish culture,” Michelle tells the Seaside Times.
As the Friday night dinners grew, Micah and Michelle saw how eager both locals and visitors were for a Jewish community in the area. Whether Atlanta natives are visiting for the holidays or locals are looking for a place to connect, they can now feel immediately at home.
Micah and Michelle ran with the local enthusiasm and worked together to found Sea Shul, the first Jewish congregation in Seaside.
The first ever Passover Seder took place in the Assembly Hall and boasted more than 70 attendees, with Rabbi Jonathan Crane overseeing the festivities. The meal was catered by Kosher Cajun and offered guests classics like brisket, tzimmes, and matzo kugels.
“Due to a lack of local congregations, many Jewish families previously spent Passover isolated, but what a difference it made when they connected with an established group,” Michelle explains. Now, Jewish families are planning to return to spend Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah together.
“Our hope is that by providing a gathering place and regular meeting schedule we can serve a need for Jewish folks living on 30A and help build a vibrant community together,” Micah tells us. “This project is a labor of love spearheaded by passionate individuals.”
And while Micah and Michelle have been making it happen, they have a whole team behind them helping out. “Every member of our founding committee has donated significant time and brainpower to fostering our fledgling community. They do so out of a deep desire for connection and because they understand the importance of spaces where those of like mind and heritage can gather,” Micah says.
Coming up next, Sea Shul will hold services by visiting Rabbis and host lectures at the Chapel or in the Assembly Hall.