For the unsuspecting couple enjoying a romantic afternoon picnic at the park, witnessing our teens meet seemed more like long time friends reuniting than strangers meeting for the first time. In a matter of seconds, the feelings of nervousness and anticipation changed into hugs, laughs, and joy (tears of joy were spotted as well).
Following a first shared meal together, the teens broke the ice with a variety of games and challenges in which they learned a little more about one another, worked together as a group, and enjoyed this unexpected sunny (and even a slightly warm) afternoon at Central Park. Can't be certain what our picnicking couple was thinking when that happened.
But, HiBuR is not (all) about fun and games! Through a series of exhibits at the Jewish Museum on 5th Avenue, including a collection of Hanukkah Menorahs and modern Jewish portraits, we discussed our own personal Jewish identities, and how sometimes art can help us express and understand ourselves better.
Before we knew if, Shabbat was fast approaching. What better New York place is there for Shabbat than Romemu? Romemu is a vibrant reform congregation, conveniently located two blocks form out hostel. Romemu is definitely not your average synagogue, especially if you happen to be an Israeli. Singing, clapping, dancing, and laughing were all packed into our short time at the synagogue, which also happens to be a church at other times. What a delight!
An out of the ordinary day deserves an unordinary dinner. After mastering the skill of ordering an American breakfast, the Israeli's next challenge was to order a Mexican dinner at "Mexican Festival". This challenge would not be so difficult if it weren't for the fact that there are about as many Mexican restaurants in Haifa as there are synagogues located in churches. There are different accounts that at some point the house Mariachi band was singing Hava Nagilla, but it has yet to be confirmed.
Shabbat is a day of rest, but definitely not for us this weekend. From downtown to the Lower East Side and Brooklyn, a packed and exciting day awaits us tomorrow. Stay tuned.