With the excitement of our first week carrying us forward, AJSS Springfield travelled to Louisville, KY to meet up with our other half – AJSS Louisville. Together, we marked the beginning of AJSS’s new direction – two trips, one mission. We began our weekend with a Kabbalat Shabbat and Ma’ariv service held at the home base for the Louisville group. At their home site, The Temple of Louisville, we shared a service with their congregants and choir group known as Shir Chadash. After services, we gathered for an Israeli style Shabbat meal of Israeli salad, hummus, falafel, pita and of course, challah and grape juice. Following dinner, we took some time for ice breakers and a choice to relax and get to know one another a little better before we all drifted off to sleep after a long, but exciting day.
After enjoying an especially late but well deserved wake up time, we gathered for an hour and a half of another ice breaker, followed by some free time with ultimate Frisbee, reading and relaxation. Afterwards, we gathered for Torah study on this past week’s Parashah, Parashat Hukkat, and its relation to the community service we do with AJSS which we then followed up with grilled cheese, tomato soup and an evening of watching the stormy skies of the Midwest and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
On Sunday, making up for our late wake up on Shabbat, we rose early to hike in Bernheim Forest before the weather became too unbearably hot and enjoyed lunch while briefly discussing our roles as Jews and the environment (to be followed up by this Shabbat’s theme of Jews, Torah and the Environment). We then made a quick detour to the Louisville JCC to shower before heading to the Louisville Slugger Museum. There, we learned that over 60% of MLB players use Louisville Slugger bats and some of our own staff and volunteers purchased their very own personalized slugger bats. After enjoying one of America’s favorite past times, we returned for dinner and program preparing us for July 4th.
To celebrate the 4th, we got another full night’s rest and then had a brunch of French toast challah and omelets followed by a day of swimming, basketball and relaxation. After our fun day in the sun, we returned to the synagogue for a barbecue, cake to celebrate Matt and Alexa’s birthdays, and a short prayer service about Jews and America. Once we were all physically and spiritually filled, we caravanned to the Louisville Waterfront to watch live music and a fireworks display over the water. After a long, exciting, informative weekend, we fell fast asleep, ready to embrace another week of volunteering, growing and bonding with our AJSS and Springfield community.
Springfield IL staff