Fall Kallah at Ohef Sholom

by | Dec 7, 2012 | Uncategorized

Ohef Sholom Temple Youth Group members at Fall Kallah.

Ohef Sholom Temple Youth Group members at Fall Kallah.

The floor was shaking. The air was humming with energy and the room’s temperature steadily rose as the 200 teenagers danced and jumped around. One or two kids even climbed on each other’s shoulders, gaining a better view as 200 voices joined in song. No less than 10 guitars could be found strumming wildly at the front of the room. One may think that this was your average concert at the NorVa. Nope—this was Shabbat Shira, Friday night song session at NFTY-MAR Fall Kallah 2012.

On Friday, Nov. 16, Ohef Sholom Temple in Norfolk welcomed more than 220 teens and advisors from Delaware to North Carolina to stay with OSTY for the weekend. Fall Kallah is one of the North American Federation of Temple Youth— Mid-Atlantic Region’s five events held each year. With the help of the elected regional board, the OSTY Quadchairs—Skylar Arias, Madeline Budman, Franklin Kramer, and Ben Laderberg—planned the highly anticipated weekend of programming, Jewish learning, and lots of fun. The four teens, along with their devoted advisors Amy and Eliot Weinstein, began meeting weekly in August. And, more than 15 OSTY members served on various committees to help ensure a successful event.

Fall Kallah Quadchairs Skylar Arias, Madeline Budman, Franklin Kramer and Ben Laderberg get the first aliyah Shabbat morning.

Fall Kallah Quadchairs Skylar Arias, Madeline Budman, Franklin Kramer and Ben Laderberg get the first aliyah Shabbat morning.

The energy and excitement was apparent as soon as NFTY-MAR participants leapt off of the buses, hugging friends they had been separated from for months. The teens joined OST’s congregation for a beautiful and innovative Shabbat evening service led by Cantor Wally Schachet-Briskin. After an oneg, song session, reading of the Code of Conduct, and singing the traditional NFTY Bedtime Sh’mah, the teens met their host parents and went home for the evening.

They arrived at OST bright and early Saturday morning to celebrate Shabbat as a community and learn about the weekend’s theme, “Everyone Needs an Original Moment.” After more dancing and singing during Shabbat services, NFTY-MAR moved into a day of programming, each written by the Quadchairs. In the first program, participants were prompted to draw something without any further instructions, and then had a discussion about the limitations normally put on their creativity. After lunch, the teens learned how to balance being original and being part of a group by engaging in a fun movement activity. They then learned about the disastrous effects of Hurricane Sandy and what they can do to help, a program based off of “Am I My Brother’s Keeper?” the NFTY’s selected study theme for the year. Finally, to end the afternoon, each member of NFTY-MAR had their own “original moments” and decorated their blank white t-shirts. The teens left the temple at 3 pm for a few hours of bonding with their host families and to rest up before the evening excitement.

NFTY-MAR returned to OST at 7 pm, dressed in their 1920s finest for the surprise dance later on in the evening. They said goodbye to Shabbat and hello to the week ahead with a spiritual Havdallah led by the Quadchairs and the regional song leaders. The teens then split into three groups to learn about original moments in history. The three rotations of the evening program included a slam poem about originality in the Torah, Jewish Jeopardy about modern Jews in the region, and even a delicious demonstration by Doumar’s, the creators of the original waffle cone! Finally, the big dance was revealed—NFTYMAR was going to be taught how to swing dance by Swing Virginia, and then test out their moves while the Rhythm Kings played big band music. NFTY-MAR was transported to a 1920s dance hall and danced the night away. It was a night that will live on in memory for years to come! The fun-filled busy day ended with the NFTY cheer, complete with confetti cannons, and the Bedtime Sh’mah.

On Sunday morning, no one wanted to leave. After friendship circle, a few last songs, and lots of hugs, members of OSTY waved goodbye to the buses and even chased them down the street as NFTY-MAR teens headed home.

The Quadchairs and OSTY Advisors thank everyone at Ohef Sholom Temple who helped make the weekend such a smashing success—it couldn’t have been done without them.

by Madeline Budman