Sophomores, juniors and seniors from Davis Renov Stahler Yeshiva High School for Boys in Woodmere, their families and rabbis took part in the annual Shabbaton that this year was a weekend at the Mountain Laurel Hotel in White Haven, Pa., last month.
On Friday morning, after breakfast, students swam in the hotel pool, used the gym, played football in the snow and took part in a DRS Trivia Game. Prepping for Shabbat, the students gathered for spirited singing at dinner. Senior Shaul Niyazov told his story of perseverance.
He was diagnosed with cancer in ninth grade, and has since made a full recovery. His wish through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, he asked for a Sefer Torah for his shul. He thanked God for providing him with the opportunity to learn important life lessons, and for the opportunity to fulfill the mitzvah of Kesivat Sefer Torah. Rabbi Yisroel Kaminetsky remarked that the speech was the most inspiring moment he has witnessed in the history of the yeshiva.
Featured speakers were Rabbi Lavi Greenspan, and DRS alum Amir Gavarin. Greenspan lost his eyesight after many grueling surgeries, but remains happy, and enthusiastic about his life as a Jew, and taught the students to always appreciate the gift of life and Torah that God grants the Jewish people.
Gavarin founded the Yeshiva University roller hockey team, working through many obstacles to make it a reality. The National Collegiate Roller Hockey Association had a problem with the team not playing on Shabbos. However, Gavarin and his friends persevered, and went on to capture a championship in the division.
After some fun game show activities by grade, it was time for one of the highlights of Shabbat, the Friday Night DRS Tish (speeches on Torah, singing, refreshments) led by Kaminetsky. All 230 students packed into a section of the ballroom and the inspired singing went on well past midnight.
On Shabbat Day, ate and studied Torah with the rabbis. There was more singing and Torah discussion. School officials view Shabbaton as “ great way for students of different ages to strengthen friendships, as well as their relationships with their Rabbeim.”