This year’s spring regional was a massive success! For the first time, parents and siblings of NCSYers joined in a Shabbaton, where the whole family could experience a Shabbat together. Parents were incredibly moved at having this opportunity to share with their children a Shabbat that was spiritually uplifting and joyful.
It started with an amazing time at Dave and Busters where the students got to enjoy hanging out with their advisors while playing the amazing arcade games! After a three-hour ride to Pinestone, NCSYers and staff finally arrived at the hotel. The pre-Shabbat ruach was infectious! Vered, the DJ, played Jewish music, and 150 kids danced up a storm.
The beauty of Shabbat was ushered in with candle lighting led by Alicia Mandel, Associate City Director of Toronto/Thornhill. Kabbalat Shabbat service was led by Rabbi Josh Stein, City Director of Thornhill. On Shabbat day, our amazing keynote speaker YY Rubenstein, a rabbi, radio and TV personality, and prolific author of 10 books, spoke about the importance of laughter, keeping the students entertained. Afterward, the kids gathered into small groups to learn with their advisors about the Jewish understanding of optimism.
The ebbing of Shabbat brought everyone together after seuda shlishit with singing and an inspirational speech by Rabbi Black, CEO of NCSY Canada, who spoke about the central place of “Shema Yisrael” in Judaism. Afterward, everyone got up on their chairs, voices raised singing “Shema Yisrael” together.
Ronnie Baras delighted the crowd with his amazing and hilarious hypnosis show. Even Rabbi Black gave it a try but his mind was just too powerful to fall under anyone’s spell.
On Sunday, our senior NCSY students got to say final goodbyes as their embarked on their gap year experience next year. The trip ended with students enjoying paint balling, ATVing and tree top trekking.
Michelle Sankar, one of our parents, had this to say:
What a wonderful opportunity you gave to us parents! . . . I was blown away by the true giftedness of your advisors and staff. They are youthful and enthusiastic, yet have a real way of connecting authentically with each student participant on the Shabbaton….Sincere thanks for a beautiful weekend, and may NCSY continue to reach, inspire and charge the neshamas of the treasure that is our Jewish youth.
Special shout out to the entire staff at NCSY Canada and Torah High who worked tirelessly to make this Shabbaton what it was: positively wonderful!