Shavuos in Chernigov
Chernigov, Ukraine - This past Sunday, Jews the world over celebrated a wedding – our bond with G-d as we received the Torah anew for the 3,324th time. In Chernigov, we celebrated not only a meaningful wedding between man and G-d, but we were privileged to have two Bar Mitzvahs as well.
Before the holiday, a flurry of phone calls, flyers, and text messages were sent out, inviting all to reading of the Ten Commandments and an ice cream party. The children, especially, were excited to participate in the special children’s program. They insisted on coming to the synagogue, bringing their parents with them. Among the attendees were two Jewish fathers, entering the synagogue for the first time in their lives! The men were inspired to join in the crowd of 80 as part of the minyan, and enjoyed a meaningful prayer service. Then, they were called up to the Torah to receive their very first Aliyas.
The children thoroughly enjoyed an action-packed program of games and learning. They competed in a mitzvah quest to find all the 10 commandments, were challenged to answer questions and receive a key to a locked gift, and were reminded to follow the Torah. Long after the program finished, the children continued to play the Jewish-themed games.
Following the services, all moved outside for a beautiful Kiddush and mouthwatering spread, set up by devoted volunteers. The food was plentiful and tasty. The highlight, for the young and young at heart, was the ice cream bar. Kosher ice cream was brought in especially from Donetsk, almost 1000 kilometers away. All received a heaping bowl of ice cream, which they proceeded to decorate with a colorful array of tempting toppings. The consensus was that the kosher ice cream was absolutely scrumptious. The Bar Mitzvah ‘boys’ made lechaims, committing to move forward in their Jewish observance.
Shavuos in Chernigov. Meaningful. Inspiring. Fun. Above all, delicious. What could be better?