June 22, 2024
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June 22, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Bnei Akiva Hosts Inspiring Shavuot at Moshava IO

(Courtesy of Bnei Akiva) Nearly 200 individuals from all across New York and New Jersey joined together at Camp Moshava IO to celebrate Shavuot with Bnei Akiva. The festivities began on Friday with some energizing Erev Shabbat yoga and delicious Taboon pizza-making. The group entered into Shabbat with a beautiful Kabbalat Shabbat followed by a thought-provoking dvar Torah by Rabbanit Nechama Barash. Rabbanit Nechama, a sought-after educator and mashgicha ruchanit at Bnei Akiva’s Midreshet Torah v’Avodah, was flown in specially from Israel with her daughter Eden to bring her unique learning style to the three-day retreat. Rabbanit Nechama’s sessions covered an array of intriguing subjects including topics such as “Human Dignity as an Important Consideration in Halakhic Psak” and “From Biblical text to Rabbinic Interpretation, What Does the Sotah Have to Teach us Today?”

The program was also privileged to have divrei Torah and learning sessions led by Rabbi Yosef Blau, a rosh yeshiva and mashgiach ruchani at Yeshiva University and his wife, Dr. Rivkah Blau, a professor at Stern University. Over the course of the three days, Rabbi Blau covered many interesting topics on the parsha, Rut, Shamor V’Zachor and the essence of Shavuot. Rivka Blau covered contemporary themes, such as going to college in the 60s vs. going to college today.

Leil Shavuot was filled with round-the-clock shiurim and chabura-style learning. Shiurim were led by the aforementioned speakers, in addition to the charismatic Yochai Feldman and Bnei Akiva shaliach Rotem Shammay. One of the highlights of the program was a mindfulness session, led by Eden Barash. Although it was only scheduled to take place once, the program was such a hit that she ended up running it every day of the chag due to popular demand. As Rav Shaul Feldman, executive director of Bnei Akiva of the U.S. and Canada put it, “On this chag celebrating receiving the Torah, there is no better time to demonstrate our mission by offering a diverse lineup of Torah lecturers enhancing the understanding of Torah v’Avodah in modern days, including sought-after speakers brought in from Israel. We were delighted that after two years without Shavuot at Moshava IO, Bnei Akiva could provide this unparalleled experience for families.”

The retreat also included a variety of programming for kids in kindergarten through fifth grade. The children were busy with activities from morning until night, and many made new friends during their short trip to camp. Everywhere you turned throughout the three-day retreat, delicious treats were being offered. Whether it was tea time, Snif time or Torah time—delicious concoctions were always being served and everyone raved about the delicious food.

The holiday came to an end Monday night with an inspiring classic Bnei Akiva-style Slow Shira, Maariv and Havdalah. Slow Shira was originally scheduled to take place inside; however, so many people attended with such enthusiasm that it needed to be moved outdoors to accommodate the participants and their energy. The participants also lucked out with virtually perfect weather. As one participant from Teaneck remarked: “The time spent outdoors made the trip even more meaningful. I was telling my husband that I felt like I needed to say a bracha just being outside and enjoying the view of the mountains and Hashem’s creation. It’s really an amazing and inspiring way to spend Shavuot.”

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