While many students went home to spend the holiday with their families and home communities, we still had a nice turnout at Shabbos House. We’re really glad we stayed and hosted, because so many students had opportunity to celebrate (some part of) the holiday, even if only for one meal or prayer. Participants included at least a dozen freshmen and new graduate students who were never at Shabbos House before, some Israeli guests from Ramat Gan visiting a student here, several students who live a distance from home, and quite a few others who for one reason or another felt more comfortable spending the holiday here. We had a core group that came throughout for all prayers and meals, and a large group who came for only one or two of the prayers and meals, especially for the first night and day.
Special thanks to these individuals and families who made our YomTov so special: Rabbi Efraim Rubin for being our Chazzan for Shachris and Musaf, timely and meaningful prayers & blowing the Shofar; Rafael C., Ben Z. for doing some of the Shofar blowing; Aaron W. for 2 of the 3 Haftorahs; Rabbi Shmuly for helping with Shofar on Day II and sharing several insightful teachings (Altrusim vs. Ambition, High Holidays as a wedding; and the Fox, Lion and 300 Jokes); Sam and Barbara S. for being an early summer inspiration to have Rosh Hashanah services here; Isaac for being on-time to all the daily prayers; to our Gabbai Mr. J; everyone who made the Minyans, opened the ark, sang along, joined for meals, helped serve and clean-up etc… Prayers began 9:30am each day, and ended about 1:15pm ahead of schedule and in time for lunch.
The first night was a much larger turnout than we expected, close to 80 people including all our guests! Of course, we had the apple dipped in honey, pomegranates (although they weren’t so ripe) and a 3-course meal with salads, soup, meatloaf and sides, dips and of course Challah and dessert. Raizy cooked up a storm, and there was plenty of delicious food for each of the 6 holiday meals with lots of variety. Every meal had some fresh faces, we met new people (mostly freshmen) at each and every meal.
After lunch on the first day, we had a beautiful Tashlich waterside ceremony at the fish-pond of a neighbor on Elmwood Street. After lunch on the 2nd day, our kids walked to Six-Mile Waterworks (across the entrance to 90W) on Fuller Road, and Raizy and Mendel walked on campus to blow mini-Shofar sets for students who didn’t have a chance to hear it earlier. Shabbat meals were the smallest, but we still had about 6-8 tables for each meal Friday Night and Shabbat Lunch.