We woke this morning bright and early for an uplifting Shacharit led by one of the Beth Shalom Congregants who used to be a youth advisor, and appreciated the opportunity to relive his glory days.
Seeing as it was Christmas today, most of the local tourist attractions were closed which gave us the perfect opportunity to use our ‘Change Maker’ skills and do some mitzvot. We started by baking some Christmas cookies and prepared a couple of activities to do with the residents of a local assisted living facility named Harmony Hall.
After the cookies were baked and cooled we travelled to Harmony Hall to visit with the residents who would not otherwise have had visitors today. We decorated the cookies and created cotton ball winter scenes that brought some joy to the facility. A few of the USYers played some Christmas carols and other songs on the guitar while the residents sang along. Those residents who were not able to join us had a paper snow flake slid under their door with a nice note on it.
After spreading some holiday cheer, we returned to the Synagogue for a bit to eat and some down time, including a screening of the first Home Alone movie. The downtime was much appreciated as we have had a couple of very full days.
Shabbat was upon us and the USYers could not wait to bring our ruach (spirit) to this congregation. Many of our home hospitality hosts joined us for this upbeat Kabbalat Shabbat experience. There was singing and dancing, as is the norm at a USY convention. The congregants commented that this was one of the most exciting and spiritually uplifting Kabbalat Shabbat service that they have ever experienced.
Our Shabbat dinner upheld the tradition of Chinese food on Christmas. We ordered from the best kosher Chinese food restaurant in the city, David Chu’s. After a raucous ruach session we returned to our host homes for some sleep after a long day.