Educational, inspirational, and fun programming continued for Emet students over Chol HaMoed Sukkos. The fall semester of the Forest Hills Leaders Fellowship made its debut in the spacious sukkah at Beth Gavriel. Students from multiple college campuses embarked on this introduction to Judaism class with their first evening of learning. After being treated to dinner and opening remarks by Rabbi Reuven Kigel, Campus Director, the young men and women broke off into smaller groups for in-depth learning led by Emet rabbis and m’karvos. It was a promising start to a highly anticipated semester.

In honor of Hoshana Rabbah, Emet hosted a “virtual sukkah hop” – COVID style. Traditionally, Emet holds an evening of in-person learning, but this year students were invited to hear words of chizuk and brachah from all of the Emet rebbeim who were each based in his own sukkah. The online format actually brought a more personal touch, since students were able to “visit” with their rebbeim and “travel” together from sukkah to sukkah. The event attracted over 1,000 viewers on Zoom and Facebook Live.

Chol HaMoed wouldn’t be complete without a fun outing, and the Emet team truly delivered. A group of intrepid young men, accompanied by Rabbi Akiva Rutenberg and Rabbi Yakov Musheyev, set out on a paintball adventure with Shomer 360. Led by Captain Eilon Even-Esh, a self-defense expert who served in the IDF and US Marine Corps, the group was occupied with team-building, sportsmanship, and even some military strategy, while competing on a challenging outdoor paintball course.

“At Emet, we are always looking to engage our students and bring Judaism alive. This Chol HaMoed Sukkos was no exception,” said Rabbi Akiva Rutenberg, Emet Co-Founder and Director. “We definitely have to be extra creative and cautious during COVID, but we will continue to host safe, socially distant, and spiritually inspiring programming.”

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