Ohav Sholom celebrates 50 years in Merrick
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Ebbin explained the synagogue’s philosophy this way: “The goal is to grow one large, beautiful family where we all grow one step at a time,” Ebbin said.
Last weekend the synagogue celebrated Purim with megillah readings on Saturday and Sunday, a Purim party on Saturday evening, and a seudah, or festive dinner, on Sunday, during which congregants performed a play that they wrote.
Yeshiva University first sent Josh Botwinick to volunteer at Ohav Sholom during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot “to bring in some extra enthusiasm,” as he tells it. The mission worked so well that Ohav Sholom recently hired Botwinick as the synagogue’s new youth director.
Botwinick, a 21-year-old senior majoring in philosophy at Yeshiva who is a native of Riverdale, was part of a group of students participating in the university’s Aaron and Blanche Schreiber Torah Tours program, which sends Yeshiva students and alumni to communities in North America and Europe to participate in and assist with Jewish holiday festivities.
“We liked [Ohav Sholom], and we kept coming back to be involved,” Botwinick said. During his many visits to Ohav Sholom, Botwinick helped set-up and run Shabbat-day meals and programming, such as games for young children.
Ebbin said he was impressed by Botwinick’s “passion for Judiasm, talent for creative programming and magnetic personality.”
“We’re very excited to have him,” Ebbin said.
Ohav Sholom hired Botwinick to be its youth director in December. His job duties include running programming for Ohav Sholom’s Hebrew School children, who range in age from preschool through high school, at the synagogue or in congregants’ homes, as well as organizing trips, such as outings to Six Flags Great Adventure or, for the older children, paintballing.