Here’s a little recap of our last week of 2014 and first week of 2015,over winter break without students here. No Shabbos House events but quite busy nonetheless!

CHANUKAH students were still here the first night of Chanukah (and some came for the second night as well) when we fried up many dozens of homemade Latkes, 60+ students came by to light and we had that surprise visit from Channel 6. Each night of Chanukah there was another event in the community, some of which we attended. For Shabbat we went to Mendel’s parents and enjoyed a Shabbos in the Albany community. The last night of Chanukah was our school’s annual Raffle-Auction. We are very involved with that and thank G-d and all the ticket purchasers it was a wonderful success. On the 8th day of Chanukah we enjoyed our children’s school performances and later our first family excursion to Terra, the new Kosher restaurant in town.

A BIG GRANT APPLICATION We got word of a unique opportunity to apply for a special grant. It required lots of work and preparation, and as with all grants, there’s no guarantee of course that you will get it or even have a shot. But we took a week to work on this, and hopefully it will bear fruit! It’s worth a shot, gotta give it a try.

BURNING MORTGAGE NEWS Also near the end of 2014 is when we received a commitment to match Building Fund contributors, with the goal of eliminating the building debt by the end of 2015! It’s a big goal, and won’t be so easy, but we hope the collective extended Shabbos House family can each do something to help us get there.

JEWISH GIRLS RETREAT Over the December 25th weekend three of our girls (Chani, Sara and Bassie) attended the Jewish Girls Retreat in Dunhams Bay on Lake George. Girls come to this from throughout the northeast, and its a special experience packed with warmth, talent and activity.

OUR SHABBOS IN MONSEY We’ve been looking forward to this Shabbos for a while, a getaway to Raizy’s sister and family. We were down to 4 kids (with Mushky away in Israel and 3 daughters at the Jewish Girls Retreat). It was a wonderful Shabbos, the younger kids really enjoyed the quality time with their cousins, but both Raizy and Moshe took ill, and were out of it much of Shabbos. It was the start of most of us getting sick between Dec 25th and New Years…

OUR WEEK OFF well, it wasn’t much of a vacation, but it did coincide (fortunately or unfortunately) with our vacation week from school. We all got sick. About half of us had the flu shot, but whatever this illness was, it didn’t seem to care flu shot or not. It wiped us out for 2 or 3 days, pretty intense, but we all got through it by New Years, parents included. Thankfully, some of us were spared, especially baby Rivka.

RAIZY’S FLORIDA GETAWAY Its a few years now that Chabad on Campus graciously offers a special retreat for Chabad on Campus Women like Raizy, who work hard enough all year long. Raizy didn’t go in years past, but as this was an especially difficult semester for her (new baby, the surgery and recovery, non-stop Shabbat and holidays and events) Mendel really thought she should go. It was heavily subsidized and highly invigorating. Mendel and the kids held up the fort back in Albany while Raizy escaped some of our coldest winter days for 3 days with colleagues and mentors, in a very meaningful and relaxing setting. We are sure glad to have her back now!

OFFICE-WORK There’s lots of backend work that goes into Shabbos House. We are getting out the Thank You notes for all 20-14 contributors (without whom Shabbos House would certainly not be possible) and getting the “Whats’ Cooking?” update ready as well. Fundraising is a big part of our work as its the only way to keep Shabbos House going. We are a little behind with a bunch of things, but getting there!

PLANNING We are trying to finalize the Torah-Tues schedule for Spring 2015, looking ahead at calendar dates and events to be as ready as possible for the semester. There are a number of theme Shabbat weekends planned, and we’re also trying to schedule Mendel’s Mondays for alumni in NYC area. We are excited for Spring 2015!