Rabbi Litt’s Teen Trip to New York

by | Mar 22, 2013 | Other News

“This year’s trip to New York was fabulous. It changed my perspective on Judaism and I had an awesome time,” says Hannah Yarow, a student at Maury High School.

Since 2002, the Norfolk Kollel has annually taken Jewish teens to New York for a weekend to never forget.

“The memories that students have on this trip are often the basis of future decisions that they make later in their college years,” says Rabbi Gershon Litt, executive director of the Norfolk Kollel. “I have received many calls and emails over the years from students saying that they spent Shabbos at Hillel on campus and thought back to our trip and how they had never spent a Shabbos like that anywhere else and they wanted to give it a try because of the trips they went on. To me, that’s success.”

The annual teen trip to New York includes staying in a four-star hotel in Manhattan, going to Kosher restaurants, attending a Broadway production, seeing museums, meeting great people, participating in an incredible Shabbat experience, and more. This year, the students saw the Broadway production of Spiderman, participated in a comedy workshop from an off-Broadway improv comedy troupe and attended a fantastic improv comedy show at the number one improv comedy club in Manhattan, Chicago City Limits. On Friday morning, the students began their journey with a very emotional experience, going to the new 9/11 memorial followed by the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Battery Park.

In addition to Rabbi Litt, another staff member was an instant hit with the participants: Chana Brooke. A graduate of BINA High School and daughter of Jeff and Amy Brooke, she accompanied the trip as a madricha, staff person. “Having Chana on the trip was awesome. She took care of a lot of the logistical needs of the trip, was there for the students, and helped make the trip a huge success, says Litt.

The real excitement of the trip was Shabbos. Every year Rabbi and Mrs. Yehoshua Sauer host the trip. “I love the Sauer family. They are so cool and everything about them is inviting,” says Andie Eichelbaum. The students arrive each year at their “Shabbat experience” not knowing what to expect. Students that have never been before and don’t come from a traditional background may not be familiar with all of the traditions and customs of the Shabbat. The Sauers make the students feel welcomed, loved, appreciated and proud to be Jewish. They make amazing Shabbos meals, bring in local Kew Garden Hills teenagers to meet them, sing songs that all the students get into, talk about deep subjects that stimulate their minds, and then show them a great time. Students stay up late talking, learning and playing pingpong. Each year the Sauers and their family make their home the student’s home for a weekend.

“Being with the Sauer family is so awesome. I take every opportunity to be with them. Their kids are cool, too,” says Gabby Shelanski, a student at Maury High School.

Rabbi Litt offers this trip each year to all Jewish students in Tidewater. “There is nothing that makes me happier than to see Jewish kids doing Jewish things. As Jewish leaders we need to bring Jewish programming to the students and not expect Jewish students to come to Jewish programming. This has been my mantra for years and I hope to be able to offer these types of programs for years to come,” says Litt.

For more information, contact Rabbi Litt at 757-623-8672.