The cars rolled in and excited chatter filled the air, hugs were exchanged and the 2nd Mayanot Alumni retreat Shabbaton was underway. Over 200 adults and almost 100 children took over the Berkeley Hotel on the New Jersey Shore for a shabbos of inspiration, learning and farbrengens.
The weekend opened with a shiur by Rabbi Meir Levinger, discussing the theme of the shabbos “Stand Up and Be Counted” in line with the parsha, Pekudei. Going back to their Yeshiva experience, Shiurim were offered between Mincha and Maariv, with a Lekutei Sichos Shiur analyzing the concept of leadership with Rabbi Shloime Gestetner and a shiur for women on the same topic of leadership and growth by Mrs. Bronya Schaffer.
Rabbi Kasriel Shemtov hosted the Friday Night Seudah and invited Rachel and Adam Rodman and Joelle and Mordechai Wilshinsky, alumni couples to share their ‘Mayanot Moment’.
With spirited singing and dancing the seudah morphed into two main farbrengens led by Rabbi Shemtov, Rabbi Levinger and Rivka Marga Gestetner (and many smaller ones in every corner) until the wee hours of the morning.
Rabbi Shloime and Rivka Marga Gestetner hosted Shabbos day seudah and invited Rabbi Avrohom Silver to say dvar Torah, who together with his wife Hindie run the Mayanot shul of Crown Heights, and Michoel and Chava Shapiro alumni couple to share their ‘Mayanot Moment’.
Babysitters from Beis Rivka made sure that the children were happily entertained all Shabbos and the Weiss Brothers of Nesher Catering ensured that every meal was an exquisite affair. The conversations, discussions and debates continued in the tea room all day long.
Rabbi Simcha Weinstein, Shliach at Pratt University and Mayanot alum spoke with humor and poignancy at the Melaveh Malkah about his life journey. At the same time, another Mayanot alum, Moshe Sobol entertained the kids with an energetic and powerful drum circle. Mr. Yaakov Cohen, chairman of the Mayanot Board outlined future plans of growth for Mayanot and introduced Rabbi Dovid Leib Marazow as a new director of development in New York, and Rabbi Moishe Silver, director of Special Projects in New York.
He also thanked many of the Baalei Batim in attendance, including Mr. Yisroel and Rivka Schulman, Rabbi Mordechai and Brana S. Deitsch, Rabbi Yisroel and Mindy Shemtov.
The retreat concluded on Sunday morning with a ‘Back to the Beis Midrash’ Program, of intense textual learning of Talmud.
Many thanks to Rabbi Moishe Silver for organizing the entire weekend from creative welcome packages to a home made mikveh and every detail in between.
Mayanot wishes to thank Jay and Stuart Podolsky of the Amsterdam Hospitality Group, Chesky Wertman of Five Towns, NY and Mr. Aryeh Goldbloom of AGT Tax and Insurance Services.