Saturday, March 15, 2008

Shabbat, New Orleans Style

Quote of the Day: "We have a minyan for mincha!" --Rabbi Nahum Amamosi

We started off the day with a lovely shabbos service, which many NOLA members participated in. The enthusiastic Yemenite rabbi taught us many insightful things. Following the service, we joined the congregation for a Kiddush lunch, including cold cuts, chollent, and a tasty chocolate cake. To make the morning even more special, we helped make a minyan for Mincha. The Rabbi and other members of the synagogue were extremely appreciative. After Katrina, most of the synagogue’s congregation did not return and they normally are only able to have Shabbat morning services. After saying we would help make a minyan for Shabbat mincha, the rabbi hugged an older member of the synagogue and exclaimed with a smile from ear to ear “We have a minyan for mincha!”

After, minyan we returned to the hostel for a short respite and heard there was a parade passing by. This wasn’t any ordinary parade, but this was the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in the city known for its festive celebrations. The entire group sped down to the street to the parade and lined up at the fences. After pushing our way through the crowd, most of us reached the front and were screaming and piling up beads around our necks. Tali even got a colored mark on the back of her neck from the festive colored beads! Jess collected the most beads, Moriah collected a green and white hat, Arielle retrieved some stuff animals, and everyone contributed their beads for a NOLA benefit concert in Boston.

After the exhilarating parade, the group trekked back to the hostel almost as excited as they were on the way there—but this time decked out with thousands of beads and other “chachkies.” The group then split up: some went on a walk around the neighborhood and some relaxed in front of the air conditioning. After a picnic dinner of falafel and hummus, the 21 Gann explorers packed back up into the 15 seater and mini-van with all of their luggage and headed to their next overnight location. We arrived at a Methodist church, our next lodging, and waited for the signal to unload the vans. After an hour of waiting and hanging out outside, the signal was called and the suitcases came out of the vans. Once settled in each room, the NOLA crew went to bed ready for a new day full of work and fun.

-T + N

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