Boys from the Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and Rockaway High School traveled to Connecticut on March 29, for a beautiful weekend of bonding and camaraderie. The festivities began with a fun-filled day of activities on Friday and concluded on Saturday night, following an extremely meaningful and uplifting Shabbat. The weekend, or Shabbaton, was a great chance for students to unwind before what is sure to be the most stressful time of the academic year.
On Friday, students arrived at Chelsea Piers in Stamford. Once there, students found that there were many activities for them to choose from. Some enjoyed playing in a 3-on-3 basketball tournament with and against their peers and rabbis, while others enjoyed football, Frisbee and soccer. At one point, a game of Jenga became so intense that a large crowd gathered to witness how long the unstable tower would take to fall. After spending several hours at Chelsea Piers, the fun continued at a nearby ice rink. Spirits were high as students wound down the day, relishing the opportunity to socialize with their friends and participate in many different enjoyable activities.
The HAFTR boys then checked into the Crowne Plaza in Stamford, for what turned out to be a very fun and meaningful Shabbat.
Everyone ushered in Shabbat on Friday night with a beautiful prayer service, which included singing and dancing, followed by a meaningful speech from guest speaker Rabbi Doniel Staum. The remainder of the weekend included other Torah commentaries offered by both students and rabbis, along with beautiful Shabbat songs that were both lively and inspiring.
It was a memorable weekend that ended with a moving havdalah service, a religious ceremony that marks the end of Shabbat. Rabbi Moshe Greene played his guitar.
The students expressed their great appreciation to HAFTR High School Associate Principal Josh Wyner, dean of Judaic studies Rabbi Yitz Riselsheimer and Judaic studies coordinator Rabbi Ira Wallach, for leading the Shabbaton and providing the boys with the opportunity to strengthen their bonds with each other as well as with their rabbis.