Parshat Shmot, January 10th, was our first (of two) Cozy-Shabbat weekends for the Winter 2015 academic break. See here for the Chess Connection on Friday Night. As virtually all the students are away, it’s usually quite unlikely to have a Minyan unless we have visiting travelers, returning alumni or other special guests. It didn’t seem likely this week.

Alumni Ben and Stephanie were up for the weekend to study with us the Jewish marital laws before their wedding which is only about one month away. Dr. N. was visiting from New Jersey. Andrew R. recently arrived from Texas to do the legislative internship at the NYS Senate. The Jacobowitz’s are local reliable Minyan stalwarts. Our good friend Chuck E. offers to come now and then when we are tight for Minyan. We had a few more friends on Friday Night but they weren’t available for Shabbos Day. And Moshe was away for Shabbos with his classmates in Clifton Park and that left us with only eight.

So after praying as if we had a Minyan, with songs and all, we were still two men short and unable to do the Torah Reading. So we sat down around the table and took turns reading this week’s Torah portion, discussing and sharing. It was five minutes to twelve when we decided to close up and finish the prayers so we could eat lunch on time.

And that’s when Dan R. and Ronnie H. walked in making the Minyan! They are both UAlbany students here this winter break for the NYS legislative internship; Ronnie in the Senate and Dan in the Assembly. Thanks to them we were able to read the Torah and Haftorah, do the Musaf prayer and say a bunch of Kaddish, too.

Between them and Andrew R. almost a third of the Minyan this Shabbat morning was NYS Legislative Interns!