Sunday, March 25, 2012

Shabbat March 23, 24th

Welcome to Nola Blog 2012: 

Let's begin with visual evidence of how hard we are working: (at eating ice cream Motzi Shabbos)

Actually from the beginning:

Gann Academy’s Rebuilding New Orleans trip left at an ungodly hour on Friday morning from Logan Airport.  The trip began with great group spirit.  We all played Hacky Sack and bonded in the airport while we waited for Laila and Barry (Laila’s husband), who were the last two to arrive.  The plane rides were very enjoyable. We made a really convenient stop in Houston (don’t mess with Texas), but we eventually made it to the beautiful city of New Orleans.  We were all shvitzing in the 80 degree weather. 

First stop we made was at Walmart, where we both stocked up with food and necessities for a whole week and brought up Walmart’s quarter profits by 20%.  After collaboratively dividing the groceries among our three minivans, we headed toward the Marquette House, where we will be staying for the entire week.  After dropping our milk off in the fridge, we went on a long driving tour of New Orleans, paying special attention to the damaged homes and the newly high levies that surrounded the lower 9th ward, the section of New Orleans that was hit worst by Hurricane Katrina.  I would say that Laila, Barry, and Rachel knew where we were going perfectly and that we never got lost, but I was told these blog posts were supposed to be honest.

                After our tour, we returned to the house, where we settled into our rooms and prepared for Shabbat. With the beautiful weather and surroundings, there was an enormous amount of Shabbat spirit.  We sang as we walked over to the neighboring synagogue, where we davened kabalat Shabbat.  The synagogue was not quite the most lively or well-attended, but the Rabbi (who might as well have had his bar mitzvah last weekend) was very welcoming and we brought a lot of spirit to the Sephardic sanctuary.  After services, we ate dinner at the synagogue, and then we had some free time before we said our laila tovs and went to sleep. 

The next morning, we woke up, had our delicious breakfasts, and went back to the synagogue for morning services.  Then after lunch, we went back to the house for some free time where we had the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful weather.  Many of us talked outside and played hacky sack, while others worked on their tans for Prom.  Toward the end of the free time, a few of us went on a run around downtown New Orleans, which was a great way to explore the city. Next, the whole group went on a walk through an interesting neighborhood which had beautiful homes and gardens, and also contained a unique cemetery. 

                We returned to the synagogue for Minchah services, and then we walked over to the Rabbi’s home where we enjoyed a delicious se’udat Shlishit with joyful zmirot.  After a spirited havdalah (Debbie Friedman style), we walked back to the house, changed into our post-shabbat clothing, and went out for ice cream and desserts.  Overall, we had a great, relaxing Shabbat in New Orleans and a great start to our trip.

-Jeremy Jick

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