The biggest change-up this Shabbos was the twist on the water-bottles, see Mendel’s Messages on “What happened to the water bottles?” for more on that, in connection with that inspiration students were excited to sing Nyezu Ritzy Chloptzi (see this Mendel’s Messages from earlier this year about this Chassidic/Russian Drinking Song). Everyone drank in moderation or had a high tolerance for water.

Being the Shabbos before Chanukah we also sang a bunch of Chanukah songs in English, Hebrew and Yiddish sprinkled throughout the meal’s courses. We didn’t do fish this week, but had a whole bunch of salads, mushroom-barley soup, general Tso’s chicken etc. After dinner quite a few lingered for comversation, a little singing, light stuff.

Unusual for this Shabbos was how many Rubin kids were away for the weekend! Mushky and Chani were down in Brooklyn for a High School convention weekend. Moshe spent Shabbos in the Albany community to take advantage of the Yud-Tes Kislev spirit there with his classmates. Sara was across the river in Troy with the Labers. Bassie went north to Saratoga to her cousins. All we were left with were Bluma (who said she “is the oldest at home and has to be responsible”) and little Esther Miriam.

Harry G. of West Orange was visiting here for the weekend and stepped up to the plate to lead Friday Night’s Kabolas Shabbos. He served in the IDF, now works in a bakery (so he especially appreciated Mendel’s “anatomy of a bagel” vurt about crust) and was here with his friend Shosh of Miami, who by the way, it turns out is a niece of a couple who went here a long time ago and continues to be supportive every year! For Shabbat Lunch we enjoyed the company of a Montreal couple, down in this area for a mini-getaway and some shopping. They attend the Chabad synagogue in Montreal West with Rabbi Sperlin. It was also nice to see Ingrid (’13) back for a Shabbat Lunch visit!

The Torah Reading was about Joseph and his Brothers, always a great topic for conversation, including some discussion of how Artscroll commentary deals with the story of Judah and Tamar, the age of the brothers (and how that might have played a role), Joseph’s reaching out to the Butler and Baker (when no one is happy in prison anyways). Both Rabbi Mendel and some students mentioned tidbits before and after Aliyot of Torah Reading and during Lunch. On Shabbos Day two students shared Jewish lessons learned from recent concerts they attended.

This was one of the earliest Shabbos weekends of the year, ending before 5:15pm. We didn’t have a Minyan for Maariv but came quite close!

One more highlight: Lchaim Student Group won a weekend getaway retreat at Dippikill (owned by UAlbany Student Association) for their successful recent A4A@A social-action community service event. Going for Shabbos wasn’t possible so they headed north of Motzai Shabbos, and returned mid-afternoon on Sunday. (It was a really nice experience!) This shorted the Sunday Minyan Bagel Brunch about 5 men, plus took Mendel and Raizy out of the picture. Nevertheless, the Minyaneers persisted, and had a nice Minyan, plus bagels, eggs etc. Thanks for keeping this weekly Sunday Minyan going strong!