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Monday, March 13, 2017

Freshman Seminar 2017/5777

At the end of February, Yeshivah of Flatbush Freshmen went to New Jersey for their first high school seminar. Rabbi Besser lead the weekend with the help of some senior advisors; and of course, two very special head advisors, Teddy Beyda and Samantha Chabot. The theme was Hakarat Hatov, learning what it means to be grateful, appreciative, and indebted towards others. We were all touched by each and every speech, video, and program, showing us the importance of kindness.
Thursday morning, the day before we left for the amazing weekend, we had a program about disability awareness. We watched videos about children and adults with Autism, Down Syndrome, and other mental and physical disabilities. Split up into groups, we did some activities to learn how people with Down Syndrome talk and feel. We had discussions about what disabilities meant to us. We learned how to treat and act around them as well. 
When we went to the hotel Friday morning, we were greeted with contagious smiles and laughter from all of the senior advisors. We started off with a session about how to label yourself and not others, teaching us the significance of friendship. We had a program about Jherin Gorcey, a”h, and her incredible acts of kindness performed with such love and happiness. She had a heart of gold and it inspired us all to improve our individual character. 
Shabbat started with Pre-Shabbat Ruach, dancing and singing to the band, playing the familiar Hebrew songs we love. We then gathered into Shul and prayed as one. We ate Shabbat dinner, followed by hours of singing. The spirit was already starting to lift only continuing by a session about loving family. Just before Tisch, at 11pm, the grade gathered around for some late night snacks at Oneg. Some of us spoke at Tisch, revealing inspirational and personal stories. 
Shabbat day only got better. We prayed Shacharit and Musaf and ate a gorgeous breakfast. We entered our last session of the weekend going into lunch. We had an amazing program with Holocaust survivors from Witness Theater, and seniors who acted out some of their stories. We then sang some more and rested until Minha. After Arbit, we gathered for a special Havdalah. Saturday night started with class wars, four games with the classes versing each other. From then until 1:00am, we were dancing for the last time, with short inspiring videos in between. At that point, the ruach in the room was on another level where we all felt so connected to G-d. With tears rolling down our eyes, the emunah was lifted in each and every one of us. 
We concluded the weekend with a beautiful slide show Sunday morning. Sad to leave, we packed up for the buses a returned back to school. This weekend has been inspiring to every one of us, and will always be remembered. We are already counting down the days for next year’s seminar.
~Sarina Shalom, Class of 2020

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Freshman Seminar 2017/5777