New Square  

Posted by inkstainedhands in ,

It has been a long, tiring, and sleepless weekend for me, but at the same time it was a pleasant and inspiring one. My community went up to New Square for a Shabbaton, which is something we haven't done in four years. We used to have regular Shabbatonim to New Square, and I remember staying there as a little kid more than once. My most vivid memories, however, are from the Shabbaton we had four years ago.

It's interesting to track how much your perception of something changes as you grow and mature. Although both the previous trip and the recent one were pleasant, this past one was very different from the one four years ago. When I was thirteen, I had a good time at the Shabbaton simply because I was there with my community, having fun with my best friend, roaming around with her unrestricted.... I had fun, but it did not provoke any thoughts or changes in me. (Of course, what can you expect from a thirteen-year-old?) This time, I also had fun with my friends, but there was another thing I got from it that was equally important. In a way, it put my life into perspective for a bit and made me think.

We arrived in New Square on Erev Shabbat. A few of my friends and I were staying together at someone's house. Our hosts were very hospitable and considerate, providing refreshments, food, and drinks for us after our long car ride. Everything was ready for us, and our hostess made sure that we were comfortably settling in.

After candle lighting, my friends and I went to the girls' school, where somebody spoke for a few minutes. After that, all the women went to visit the Rebbetzin in her house.

I remember when the Skverre Rebbe and Rebbetzin visited Flatbush a few months ago. The Rebbetzin came to my school, spoke to us, and gave each of us a Sefer Tehillim as a present. There were three of us at the Shabbaton from my high school, so we told the Rebbetzin where we were from.

As a writer, I know better than to use "nice" to describe a person because it can mean such a wide variety of things, but in this case, I really need to use that word. She was just really nice. She was so friendly and made us all feel at ease. So that was a good experience.

Afterward, my best friend and I went to someone's house for dinner (since we were not eating where we were staying, nor were we eating together with the two other girls we were sharing the room with). Once again, we encountered admirable hospitality. What we realized over Shabbat is that everyone there cared so much about their guests; the hachnasat orchim was unbelievable.

After dinner, we were almost too stuffed to move. (What can I say? The food was good and they were encouraging us to eat.) Somehow though, we managed to find our way to the shul for the Rebbe's tish. That was also a unique experience. When the men said amen, it reverberated throughout the entire building. The same goes for the singing. It was late though and I was already falling asleep from sheer exhaustion, so we returned to our place and went to sleep.

The next day passed pretty much the same way. We went to another affable couple for lunch, took a walk around New Square, and ended up at the girls' school again for Shalosh Seudot.

A few hours after havdala, we all went to the Rebbe for brachot. It wasn't my first time getting a bracha from the Skverre Rebbe, but I was pretty nervous. It's not every day that you have that opportunity -- you know what I mean?

By the time we got a bracha, it was around 3 in the morning and I was exhausted. However, I did not end up going to sleep until much later. I think I got about four hours of sleep in total this past night. I worked on getting some caffeine into my system on the way home, and then spent the rest of the day studying for a test, still half asleep.

All in all, I had a good time. It's nice to get away from the hustle and bustle of Brooklyn once in a while and see what a peaceful, relaxed time Shabbat can be. There were no cars on the road during Shabbat, so everyone could walk there and the kids could play all together without anyone having to worry. When I saw all the kids gathering and playing in the streets, it drew such a pleasant contrast to Brooklyn, where if your kid ventures anywhere near the street (especially alone), your heart starts beating at twice its normal rate. New Square is an ideal example of Kedushat Shabbat.

So, that was my Shabbat. It was long and tiring, but I enjoyed (almost) every minute of it and came away with a lot to think about. I also did a lot of thinking there. Somehow, a quiet and tranquil environment is conducive to that.

This entry was posted on Sunday, May 10, 2009 at Sunday, May 10, 2009 and is filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


And you can walk around at 3AM and the whole place is peaceful and quiet.

May 11, 2009 at 7:04 PM

Post a Comment