Summer got off to a spiritual and scenic start, when Emet’s Higher Level Men’s Division hosted a four-day retreat in Upstate New York. A sprawling, private lodge in Hancock became the weekend home for a group of students who have advanced in their Torah learning. They were joined by a dynamic Emet team of Rabbi Michael Fuzaylov, Rabbi Ari Hertz, and Rabbi Yakov Musheyev. The plan was to engage everyone with an array of invigorating activities, inspiring learning, and countless opportunities for bonding and fun.
Wednesday evening kicked off with a bang when the group was treated to a pre-July Fourth fireworks display. Thursday and Friday were highlighted by amazing morning learning sessions, where the participants studied Gemara in smaller groups with each of the rabbis. “The learning was really incredible and intense,” said Rabbi Fuzaylov. “In my group, we had students drawing out charts to understand an argument between Rashi and Tosafos in a fascinating sugya that stretches through five different masechtos. They navigated it successfully.”
Friday afternoon delivered adventure when the group enjoyed white water rafting for five miles down the Delaware River. Rabbi Musheyev showed that Torah can be studied anywhere when he gave a memorable shiur to eager participants on two rafts. “It’s so important to take Torah with us out of the beis midrash and into our everyday lives.” Rabbi Musheyev said. “Eventually, we start to see and experience everything through the lens of Torah.”
Shabbos brought welcome relaxation and a chance to connect with one another. There were many moments of meaningful learning, and conversations were sparked about a variety of topics like Hilchos Shabbos and Lashon HaRa.
“The singing on Shabbos brought us to a different world,” said Rabbi Fuzaylov. “It was also moving when each person shared with the group where he wants to be in ten years.”
Motza’ei Shabbos featured an awe-inspiring view of the Milky Way, shooting stars, and even orbiting satellites. A game of laser tag across the huge property closed out the evening. The group returned home on Sunday with plans to see each other at the daily Emet Olami Beit Midrash and at the weekly TorahConnect learning program.
Moshe Abramov, Emet student, said, “The weekend was a great experience. It allowed me to celebrate Shabbos for the first time in a while, with an amazing group of people.”
“The trip upstate was special in many ways. We spent a lot of time learning, but at no point did it feel forced. Everyone just wanted to hear each other’s perspectives on the different Gemara or personal growth topics that we were discussing,” said Rabbi Hertz. “The growth is so organic and that’s really the greatest part of these trips and Emet in general.”