Thursday, February 5, 2009

Hanefesh USY comes to TBE!

This weekend we are hosting the regional USY Midwinter Kinnus. This marks the first time in several years that our chapter has hosted a major regional USY event, and we welcome the approximately 70 teens and advisors who will be joining us. My family will personally welcome about 10 of them, in fact, as they will be sleeping at our home. Several other congregants are hosting teens as well.

A Kinnus is a gathering, much like a Shabbaton or retreat. USY, the official teen arm of Conservative Judaism, has been a godsend to my kids and many others in the congregation. The teens love the friendship and camaraderie. The parents love that this youth program emphasizes Jewish values, responsibility, leadership and personal growth. At a time when teens confront so many pressures and temptations, I feel secure knowing that mine are under the watchful and nurturing eye of USY. Our region, which spans from the area of Springfield, Mass. down through all of Connecticut to, well, Stamford, is called Ha-Nefesh, which means “the spirit,” or “the soul.” While ours is not the largest region in the country, it most definitely has spirit!

Join us this weekend, as the teens from here and elsewhere will be leading our services. My son Ethan is now regional Vice President of religion and education and will be doing a d’var Torah on Friday night.

On Shabbat morning, by the way, Mara and I invite the congregation to a special extended Kiddush lunch that we are co-sponsoring in honor of USY and Ethan’s 18th birthday, which occurs this Shabbat. It's hard to believe that the little kid who crawled up to the bima during my installation is turning 18.

Happy Birthday, Ethan!

Beth El USY’ers and 8th graders will be well represented during services on Shabbat morning, with Torah readers including Lowell Eitelberg, Dan Hammerman, Sophie Koester and David Rutstein, the haftarah being chanted by Ethan Hammerman and Musaf being led by Melissa Miles. Join us for what will be a very special Shabbat at TBE.

No comments: