Shabbos with the Sosovers

Photo by Dara Granoff

Photo by Dara Granoff

Leah Sosland

Rabbi and Chanie Sosover and family. Photo by Dara Granoff

It is Friday, Nov. 14. Shabbos has arrived, and one by one the twenty or so Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy upperclassmen approach the door of their Jewish Studies teacher’s home. Rabbi Berel Sosover opens the door and the students are greeted not only by him, but by his wife, Chanie Sosover, and their six small children. The students and the Sosover family enjoy a night filled with Judaic learning, song, conversation, and lots of food.

Once a year, the Sosovers open their home to the Rabbi’s junior and senior year students, which is a highly anticipated event. This semester, the upperclassmen have been learning about the halachot, or rabbinic laws, regarding Shabbat. They learn about ideas such as the reasoning behind Friday night candle lighting times and the importance of making kiddush, the blessing and sanctification of wine.

Sosover considers this tradition of inviting his students into his home a way of “bringing alive” what he is teaching in class. As they proceed through a meal that can extend over four courses, the students and the Sosovers converse and point out things that have been discussed in the classroom.  Sosover laughed, sharing that “sometimes students eat too much at the first course and don’t have room for later!” Junior Elana Goldenberg can attest to that, as she “was full after the first course but couldn’t stop eating.”

Senior Ezra Smith enjoys the time he spends at Rabbi Sosover’s house immensely. He is currently working on an independent study in Jewish Studies with Rabbi Weinstein, but he, nonetheless, is invited to the Sosovers’ dinner. Smith excitedly expressed how “being there with everyone is really good.” He continued sharing how sometimes he will celebrate Shabbat with a few of his friends individually, “but when you have dinner with those entire two classes it’s a really unique experience. Being together with the HBHA family on the most special day of the week is really wonderful.” A cheerful smile spread over Smith’s face, as he added that “the kids are so cute, oh my gosh. They’re so fantastic.” Goldenberg shared how Sroly Sosover, a first grader, “came over to me and grabbed my arm because he didn’t want me to leave and it was the sweetest thing.” The Sosover children tend to be a big hit among the high schoolers, and apparently vice versa.