Blood Drive . . . and Sheva Berachos! Another successful blood drive was hosted by Mesivta Ateres Yaakov–the third of the year. A total of 103 pints of blood were donated to benefit Bikur Cholim of Maimonides Hospital.

Drive organizers Chaim Shulman and Yishai Zwiren, both seniors, were determined to collect over 300 pints of blood over the course of their senior year, and they succeeded in exceeding that goal by a considerable margin! Chaim and Yishai continue a longstanding legacy of dedication to “squeezing” the most out of each year’s blood drive to ensure that the greatest number of patients can benefit. They carry on a tradition of leaving no vein untapped, exemplified by their predecessor drive leaders. One of those prior leaders, MAY alumnus Moshe English, came to donate blood with his new kallah, Menucha. Moshe, who was just married a few days earlier, not only organized his senior class’s blood drive, but was instrumental in bringing Bikur Cholim to the Five Towns. When Moshe’s rebbeim saw him and his wife refreshing themselves with a bagel and juice after donating, they suggested making sheva berachos. So, together with the students who had just donated blood, the mesivta made an impromptu sheva berachos, complete with divrei Torah, singing, and a wonderful spirit.

Rabbi Yossi Bennett, assistant menahel, remarked, “We regularly attend our alumni’s weddings and sheva berachos, but I think a sheva berachos at a blood drive is a first!” The yeshiva wishes Moshe and Menucha mazel and berachah, and are so proud that they, like other MAY alumni, will clearly be incorporating the MAY chesed values into their bayis ne’eman!

Country Retreat: Cold but Warm! MAY recently held its annual Spring Shabbaton on the beautiful campus of Camp Romimu in Monticello. Even with the weather not having cooperated until Sunday, the Shabbaton was still a resounding success as it was replete with tremendous growth in ruchniyus, achdus, ahavas Hashem, and ahavas haTorah. Rabbi Yossi Bennett, assistant menahel, commented, “Although this was the coldest Shabbaton we’ve ever had, it was also the warmest!”

From start to finish, the Shabbaton was an inspiring, exciting, and stimulating weekend. The mesivta invited Rav Yisrael Shteinwurtzel, shlita, maggid shiur in Yeshivas Sh’or Yoshuv, as their guest for Shabbos. Rav Shteinwurtzel helped set the tone for the Shabbos explaining how Shabbos serves as a bond between Klal Yisrael and Hashem. He creatively and carefully clarified and illuminated many aspects of Yiddishkeit that some find difficult to understand. Using a colorful array of mashalim and examples, Rav Shteinwurtzel illustrated that when there is true empathy and understanding between partners, not only are questions answered, but it becomes apparent that there never really were any questions in the first place.

Wth Rav Shteinwurtzel and twelfth graders leading the way, the leibudikeit throughout the Shabbos was unparalleled, with incredible singing and dancing at all meals. Rav Shteinwurtzel spoke throughout Shabbos, beginning on Friday night before Kabbalas Shabbos and ending at shalosh seudos, captivating the talmidim more and more with each one of his derashos.

As an added dimension to this year’s Shabbaton, the mesivta invited a group of developmentally disabled individuals from the Otzar Chevra to join them for Shabbos. Student activities coordinator Rabbi Shlomo Drebin, who singlehandedly organized the entire Shabbaton, remarked, “We were offered this special opportunity and we were thrilled to include them. As is always the case with our other achdus initiatives, it was a unique and meaningful experience for both the Otzar Chevra and the mesivta talmidim.

Motzaei Shabbos sports was followed by a barbecue melaveh malkah that capped off an amazing Shabbos. B’H Sunday brought beautiful weather that allowed the talmidim and rebbeim alike to make great use of the camp’s recreational facilities and was a great finish to a wonderful weekend! v


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