Issue #32 – When The YBL Shabbaton Is So Much More!

Posted on Posted in All Articles, Down Syndrome and Congenital Heart Defects

When The YBL Shabbaton Is So Much More!
Sarah Sander

Yeshiva Bonim Lamokom’s annual Shabbaton at the Raleigh Hotel is truly the highlight of the year. It’s a weekend for students and staff to enjoy and bond in a beautiful Shabbos setting with lots of spirituality and fun for all.

My husband and I join every year, as do all of our children and grandchildren. The anticipation in our family, annually, is palpable. The grandchildren count down from the moment the Shabbaton date is announced and every family conversation is peppered with ‘Shabbaton’ from then on.

Establishing the Shabbaton date is no simple matter. Our devoted YBL staff have private lives involving simchos, appointments and various personal commitments. Getting everybody to agree to a particular weekend is no easy feat.

Last year’s Shabbaton date was determined after much head scratching. Ultimately, it worked for everybody, seemingly even for our beloved eldest daughter who was expecting a baby two weeks later. She had every intention of attending. Her all-boys family would never forgive her if they’d miss it. And me? I was frantic! I told her to contact surrounding hospitals and check with them whether their maternity wards were up to par during those sleepy winter months in upstate New York…just in case. She laughed at me and told me not to be so hysterical.

Friday morning, Shabbaton departure date dawned bright and sunny and I was still snoozing when the floor creaked mysteriously alongside my bed. I opened one eye just a wee bit to see my husband dance, yes dance toward me with a phone in his hands, smiling, saying ‘Here; somebody wants to talk to you.’ And before I knew what hit me I heard, “Good morning Mommy – Mazel Tov! It’s a GIRL!” We still wonder to this very day why our neighbors didn’t call the police, or at least check with us whether we were okay, because the shrieks that occurred that morning pierced walls and ceilings.

With the new Mom safely ‘abandoned’ in the hospital, our son-in-law joined the Shabbaton with his brood of sons and their radiant smiles.

Wonder of wonders! As we stepped into the huge dining room where Yeshiva Bonim Lamokom holds its tefillos and seudos, and is always decorated beautifully by our legendary principal Rabbi Zev Horowitz and his devoted wife, Toby, we gasped! Unbeknownst to all of what was to be, the color scheme for the table décor was PINK! It was as though they had a premonition of this sensational girl that was going to be born on that very day.

The Kiddush Shabbos morning was other-worldly. The baby was named during davening and every single student of Yeshiva Bonim Lamokom took his turn at wishing my husband and son-in-law Mazel Tov and showering them with the most beautiful, heartfelt wishes. What a unique and derhoibena Simcha this was. I stood behind the mechitzah, taking it all in as tears tickled the corners of my eyes.

A Simcha joined by Yeshiva Bonim Lamokom is the ultimate Simcha!

This past winter brought with it the flurry of Shabbaton excitement once again. Heads were scratched once more, calendars were pored over again and a date was chosen. This time, our son and darling daughter-in-law were expecting their first baby almost two weeks after the Shabbaton date and immediately informed us that they would not be attending; too close, too risky.

Friday morning, Shabbaton departure date dawned bright and sunny and brutally cold. We were in the midst of packing when the phone rang; it was my son. “Hi Mommy, Mazel Tov! We just had a baby BOY!” And so, we celebrated our second Simcha for the second consecutive year at the YBL Shabbaton. Our son, the new father, joined us at the hotel, while the new Mom and baby were comfortably settled in the hospital.

Once again, on Friday night after the meal, we had a beautiful Shulem Zucher, welcoming the new baby boy. Every student of Yeshiva Bonim Lamokom shook my husband’s and son’s hands and wished them brachos l’rov. The genuine Simcha and the purity of the brachos embraced us in warmth.

YBL’s Shabbatons are always very special, but a Simcha along with the Shabbaton is out of this world! May we continue to celebrate many more, for YBL is truly a part of our family.