A few weeks ago, on a beautiful Friday night in New York, Chabad of Midtown and the Mayanot once again teamed up for a great event, to reunite Birthright Israel: Mayanot alumni from all over the state.
Over 120 returnees from various Birthright Israel: Mayanot trips came together for a lively and enjoyable Shabbos meal at Chabad's regal 5th Ave location.
After many participants arrived and had a chance to mingle, for a while, the women were lead in Shabbos candle lighting with Rivky Namdar, a past Mayanot staff member, who had recruited a large amount of participants. Everyone listened closely and learned about the significance, history and meaning behind the beautiful ritual of candle lighting, as well as the relevance of bringing extra light into the world.
Amidst much singing and enthusiasm, the crowd heard Kiddush and explanations about the Friday night laws and customs from Rabbi Dov Oliver, who serves as Mayanot's alumni coordinator in NYC. Many of those in attendance shared that, apart from their actual Birthright trip, this was one of the first Shabbos meals they have ever experienced, and many guests shared, how much they were enjoying every part of the new experience!
A highlight of the meal was when Rebbetzin Brocha Metzger, who together with her husband Rabbi Josh Metzger, hosts of the dinner, spoke to the all the guests about the significance of this particular Shabbos. Her inspirational words, reflecting on Rosh Chodesh Av and its significance and relevance to every persons everyday life. Her message hit home for each person listening, even bringing the waiters to a halt as they heard her moving message.
The Rebbetzin concluded with a warm welcome, for this to be just the first of many events attended by those assembled at Chabad. The Farbrenging, singing and good resolutions made, went long into the night as the groups reunited with their fellow alumni and staff in a delightful and idyllic setting.
Many participants mentioned, how excited they were to attend this event, and how much they hope for more events like it.