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Unique New York

Thursday, 10 March, 2016 - 9:27 pm

 Hello, my fellow readers. Let me begin this blog entry by stating how immensely apologetic I am for my lack of blogging for a long while. It was a mix of family situations, school circumstances, and tons of other things racking my thought process, much so that I either forgot or typed it and just never posted. Of course I will continue to do so religiously (haha get it?). So please forgive me, and read on!

I have a few things to share. This particular blog isn't about one of the JLI classes; rather, it is about personal experiences. Initially, can we just acknowledge the fact that I GOT INTO THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA?!? Phew. Now that that's off my chest, I can weave my tale of visiting a far away place known to some as New York. You may have heard of it. This past Monday I touched down in Florida, the first time since the previous Thursday night. I had spent that entire weekend (and my entire energy tank) in New York. Why New York, I hope you would politely ask? Well, my friends, *guffaws at such a ridiculous question* for the CTeen 2016 Shabbaton! It was an experience of a lifetime, let me tell you.

Shabbaton is this giant get-together every year in Manhattan where thousands of Jewish teens from all around the world fly in to spend Shabbat together. This year, over 2,000 teens from 25 different countries got together to celebrate their Jewish pride. It was breathtaking. I flew into New York (my first time!!) with Miss Sarah and Miss Shira, along with another nice young lady called Cheyenne. Thursday night we went straight to sleep. Friday, we all visited the Wax Museum and explored Times Square, and Shabbat dinner. Saturday was all about Shabbat and more Jewish Pride, and then a HUGE private party in Times Square, and on Sunday we had the closing banquet and visited the Rebbe's grave. The return flight was Monday morning. I don't think anybody would appreciate me writing a novel, so I'll pick apart my favorite occurrences. Okay, so I have this unhealthy obsession with other cultures and languages. So you could say I was in heaven when I was surrounded by French and Spanish and Swedish and Hebrew and Italian... It was absolutely amazing. I was practically drooling over the accents and the culture that surrounded me. At one point, in the subway car, there was a group of Australians singing the Sh'ma prayer in Hebrew and then on the other side was a group of French girls singing it in French. Us silly Americans were stuck in the middle. But oh my word it was awesome. And the party in Times Square.. Seeing all of those teenagers raging about their religion and waving their country's flag, it was enough to make anybody want to be Jewish! Of course I was dog tired by the time the partying ended near 2am, but I fell into bed smiling that night. I wasn't even bothered by the cold or the New Yorkers, the whole thing was an adventure!

On the last day of Shabbaton, we all visited the Rebbe's grave. I can't describe the feeling of the experience other than spiritually stimulating. I actually cried while I wrote my prayer.. Don't tell anyone else that, okay? That's between you and I and the NSA other there in that corner. They're there, trust me. But anyway.. All around me, people bent over their papers scribbling their thoughts and hopes and blessings, all in an effort to right the wrongs in the world. It was a beautiful and halcyon scene.

The entire event had me dying for more, yet left nothing to be desired. I met so many incredible kids (I still talk to a few of the kids I met) and heard to many life changing stories.. It's a shame I'm out of highschool in 3 months but you can bet that I'll be looking into chaperoning for Shabbaton 2017!!!! GO CTEENS!!!

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