Milk and Honey Party


This Shavuot was a real challenge for us - two days of holiday right after Shabbat. The idea was to gather a minyan [quorum of ten Jewish adults required for prayer services] at the Moishe House Gomel flat in order to study all night and start day with the morning prayer at the first sunlight…

We began our preparations by buying a lot of dairy products, because you really need a great deal of food to feed 10 youngsters. We wanted this Shavuot night to be full of milk and honey- dairy dishes, fruits, honey and lots of Torah studies.

We met at 10 pm and started to cook after havdalah [ceremony that marks the symbolic end of Shabbat and holidays]. We discovered hat making pancakes is not as easy as we thought especially when the speed of cooking is much less than the speed of the guys eating! It took about 1,5 hours and at least a kilo of my nerve cells to satisfy everyone’s appetite before we could start the lessons. There were four sets of one-hour sessions. I prepared two sessions on blessings and the essence of Tefillah [prayer]. The two remaining sessions were prepared by Moishe House residents Eli and Sinai, one about the weekly Torah portion and one dedicated to the laws and history of Shavuot.

The long night passed with the help of a dozen cups coffee and several packs of cigarettes in the hall and we returned to Synagogue for the morning service. Fighting the desire to sleep, we read the Torah and took part in a full service, and then went home to have a rest.

I am delighted to say, that ours was, in all likelihood, the first minyan practicing the tradition of all night torah study for Shavuot in Gomel for in several decades. We look forward to carrying on with the tradition in year to come, despite the great quarrel with our elderly neighbor who had a difficult night due to our incessant talking, laughing and cigarette smoke =).  It was a wonderful night and made us realize once again, that we are a part of the newest Jewish History of our city! 

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