On Wednesday, we excitedly got back to work at our favorite deconstruction site in Jacksonville, AR. We came in with hammers, crow bars, and sledgehammers and we were ready to work. We, of course, had our trusty goggles, dust masks, and work gloves to protect us from any work hazards. Some of us went to the back rooms of the house taking wood panels, support beams, and doorways as we have been doing for weeks. Others went to the de-nailing room to make all that wood that had been taken down safe to work with on another home. Another group began taking down parts of the ceilings on top of ladders. The rest of the group spent the day ripping the drywall down. We had lots of fun punching and kicking through walls. Of course, we were safe about it. Some of us even got to take entire showers out of the ground! After a long and exhausting day at work, we went to take our beloved showers. We also enjoyed our dinner and prepared for another free night. Some of us went to get Starbucks and ice cream and then came back to watch “The Breakfast Club.” Another group went to Mini Golf at a course that provided for endless hilarity due to its uncleanly upkeep. We all came back to the shul for our nightly ritual and bedtime.
Thursday morning, we headed to Little Rock’s Capitol Building to meet Arkansas’ leader, Governor Mike Beebe. We all wore our Habitat for Humanity shirts so that the Governor would understand how we are spending our summer in Little Rock. We took a few pictures with him and had an interesting conversation with his personal photographer. We all learned that Governor Beebe loves to sing along to all the Meatloaf songs! After quickly perusing the gift shop, we left for work. But, some of us had to go to Sam’s Club to restock our food supply from the past week. We bought our supplies for the week and loaded up the car and went to work to join the others. We worked at the ReStore building two more sets of shelves, doing inventory, moving merchandise, and unloading trucks. After another tough day at work, we went to the home of a local Jew to swim and have ice cream. We had dinner back at the shul and enjoyed a trip to Walmart for a scavenger hunt and some personal shopping.
On Friday, some members of the group woke up early to do some extra work. That group loaded and unloaded two trucks full of building material in less than an hour! The rest of the group went back to the ReStore to finish building the shelves and help with other odd jobs that required attention. After our showers, we loaded up the vans and headed to Memphis, TN for Shabbat. After a quick two hour drive, we arrived in the Volunteer State and the City of Blues. We all stayed in host families for Shabbat and went to a Modern Orthodox shul for Kabbalat Shabbat and went to various homes for Shabbat dinner.
Saturday morning, we walked to Baron Hirsch, another Modern Orthodox shul for services. We enjoyed a lovely Kiddish at Rabbi Perl’s house. We hung out in the shul’s youth lounge and played cards and other games. Some of us learned from the Rabbi during his weekly teaching. We ended our fun-filled Shabbat with the shul and we hung out at different houses after Shabbat, swimming and playing ping pong, air hockey, and foosball!
On Sunday, we left our host homes and visited Graceland. We learned all about the King of Rock and Roll and about his lifestyle there. Then, we ate a quick lunch and went through the Museum of Civil Rights at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. We learned about civil rights movements all over the world and the people who fought and gave their lives for our civil liberties that we cherish. Afterward, we went to Beale Street and experienced the true Memphis spirit of music and excitement. Then, we had to leave Memphis to head back to our home in Little Rock for the fun-filled week ahead!