Wednesday, November 20, 2013

An Inspiring Weekend

For months our school and community had been looking forward to what we were billing as a "Shabbat Experience" - a weekend in which various parts of our school community would come together in and around the school to draw inspiration and to inspire each other.  With the help of Dr. Gary and Dena Wruble, and the talents of the weekend's feature attraction, Mr. Charlie Harary, it didn't disappoint.

The weekend started with a talk that Charlie gave to both of our high schools at the end of the school day on Friday about what it means to be a "Yehudi" - a descendant of Yehudah.  On Friday night, in a first for our school, the entire community was invited to davening in our High School Beit Midrash followed by dinner and a talk from Charlie.  280 men, women, and children of all ages signed up and the atmosphere was nothing short of electric.  From a spirited davening to a wonderful meal replete with "parsha questions" for the kids and the much beloved "cup song," there was something very special about all parts of our diverse community coming out to enjoy Shabbos together.  It was capped off by a captivating talk by Charlie on the meaning of inspiration and how best to find it.

On Shabbos morning the weekend zeroed in our teens with a special davening in the High School in which Mr. Harary delivered a derasha about the lessons of Chanukah.  That was followed by a special kiddush and a teens-only Q&A session with Charlie.  One of the most inspiring sights of the weekend was seeing our Beit Midrash packed with kids on Shabbos morning after davening, when no one was forcing them to be there, just for the opportunity to glean some wisdom from our guest speaker.

Charlie turned his focus back to the adults with a short talk during Shalosh Seudos at Baron Hirsch and then capped off the weekend at a Melave Malka in which a crown packed Dena and Gary's beautiful home  to hear Charlie speak on the challenges of raising Jewish teens.

For many of the participants I spoke to, this was a weekend unlike any other in recent history in our community.  Our hope is that there will be many more like it in the future.

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