Shabbat In Baltimore
-- An Experience to Remember
From the stirring sounds of L’Chah Dodi that echoed
the banquet room Friday evening, to the quiet sniffing of the Be’samim in the
darkened room 25 hours later, the OJOTC Shabbaton during the 2014 AOTA
Conference and Expo was an experience to be remembered.
We had a record number of participants in this Shabbat,
more than 55 OT’s, OT students and several spouses filling the Ruth Room of the
Hilton Baltimore which was provided for us by AOTA.
The meals were plentiful, scrumptious and filling, the
conversation was friendly and uplifting, and the atmosphere turned this Shabbat
into something very special.
And for the first time in the 9 years that OJOTC has
a Shabbat program in conjunction with the AOTA Conference, we had a Minyan for
Friday night, Shabbat morning as well as Shabbat afternoon Minchah-Ma’ariv.
We had 12 men of our own for Minyanim, plus Rabbi Levi
of Chabad of Downtown Baltimore and one of his friends, a local Cardiologist
who was so jealous that his profession could not emulate our Shabbat program at
its conferences. Rabbi Druk loaned us
the Sefer Torah we read from on Shabbat, inspired us with a D’var Torah before
Musaf and also joined us in the afternoon for Shalosh Seudot.
This was also the first time that we added our own Shabbat
afternoon sessions combining OT practice and issues of relevance to Observant
Jewish OT’s and OT students. The two
sessions turned into times of spirited discussion and exchange of experiences
Barbara Kornblau, JD, OTR/L, FAOTA, a Past President
AOTA, who also has a law degree, led a session on dealing with religious
discrimination in OT education and practice.
She shared her own experiences in fighting religious bias and offered
concrete ideas for how to handle situations which may involve discrimination.
Several of the OT’s and OT students also spoke
situations that they had encountered in college or in the workplace.
Rivka Molinsky, PhD, OTR/L Program Director of
program at Touro College, led a “round table discussion” about experiences in
college and the workplace.
Both sessions were spirited, well-attended and provided
alternative to other goings on at the Convention Center Shabbat afternoon.
Shabbat dinner and lunch came from the well-known Dougie’s
Restaurant. The meals included Gefilte
Fish, salads, grilled and fried chicken cutlets, potato and noodle kugels, and
deli, plus scrumptious chocolate chip cookies, watermelon and cantaloupe. Shalosh
Seudot came from Seven-Mile Market in
Baltimore, and featured six different varieties of salads, a variety of fresh
fruit chunks and a mouthwatering assortment of cookies, Danish and pastries.
When we all gathered around for Havdalah, there seemed
the same thought on so many people’s mind – what can we do to top this next
year in Nashville?