July 4th 2014 was a special summertime Shabbat because of all the alumni who came up to spend Shabbos with us. Shaun Z. (’01) came up with his wife Michelle and two sons, with Ed L. (’01) both of whom were the first student occupants (along with Jevon W. ’01) of the property upon which the new Shabbos House was built. Adam (’06) and Allie (’07), and Wendy M. (’07), David W. (’12), Danyel (’07) with her husband Tani and daughter, and Joanna S. (’09) and Raissa T. (’09) – did we miss anyone? For those from 2001, this was their first Shabbos back at Shabbos House in well over a decade, and certainly their first in the new house. Ben Z. (’12 and ’14) and Stephanie (’12) are both alumni, they are still in town through the end of the summer, but we will certainly miss them when they move back downstate before the start of the Fall.

In addition to the alumni guests, there was a Persian family from Roslyn with their 3 children, and a Chassidic family from Toshtown above Montreal also with 3 children. And it was Rafael C’s Bar-Mitzvah anniversary so he read the majority of the beautiful Torah reading, and his parents joined us for lunch.

In keeping with the July 4th spirit, we had blue tablecloths, red plates and white cutlery, and red, white and blue napkins. Ben Z sang Lecha Dodi to a popular patriotic melody, and we even had a guest from Philadelphia to complete the theme. Rabbi Mendel spoke about how two chapter titles in Telushkin’s book inspired him to drag home a vintage exercise bike, and on Shabbat Day a story about Australian Dollars and South African Rands. Ben Z. shared an on-the-spot insight into the 25th anniversary of the Seinfeld Show, and Shaun Z. shared a relevan insight from Bilaam and Balak’s mountain top perspective. Rafael C. shared “War of Words” which was the theme of his Bar-Mitzvah speech years ago, yet remains ever relevant today.

After Shabbos (which ended quite late) we enjoyed a firepit out back with s’mores, corn on the cob and homemade pizza (baked inside in the oven). It was close to 2:30am when we finally put out the fire.