Freshman Night to Unite
As COVID-19 continues to limit all the fun activities we can do, MTA hasn’t once let this affect the safe and fun events that happen at school. On Thursday night, December 3rd, MTA held their 6th annual Freshman Night In, this year dubbed A Night2Unite. While normally this event includes swimming, trampoline jumping, and sleeping in Yeshiva, the activities needed to be changed to fit COVID-19 safety guidelines. Although they weren't the normal activities, MTA managed to make this night amazing and full of fun.
The night kicked off with the regular Mishmar program in each shiur. There’s nothing like learning with your Rabbi as you anticipate all of the exciting activities planned for the night. Following Mishmar was Maariv, because you can’t have fun until you make sure you’ve said all the prayers for the day. Then the Freshmen were split up into two groups. The first group would go down to the Lion’s Den for a very special glow-in-the-dark game of dodgeball, while the second group would enjoy a very delicious dinner provided by one of the best restaurants in New Jersey, Sender’s Smoke Joint. The groups were split into teams for the big dodgeball game, and just as the game started, the lights went out, spotlights went on, and the music was turned up all the way, the ultimate game of dodgeball began. As the game progressed, the freshmen decided that the best way to finish the game was to team up and play against the seniors who stayed late to help. While the seniors did win, the freshmen were now closer together and had had a lot of fun, socially distanced, of course.
While the first group was playing dodgeball, the other group was enjoying their meat dinner from Sender’s Smoke Joint. Once the first dodgeball game ended, the two groups switched, sending the first group to eat dinner and the second group to play dodgeball. The sandwich that I chose was called a “Ziggy” and was a very delicious sandwich consisting of a hamburger bun, a piece of schnitzel, some pastrami, and some vegetables. This was, by far, one of the best sandwiches I’ve eaten in my life. While the first group ate dinner as they waited for the second group to finish playing dodgeball, they were granted the opportunity to get to spend time with each other while eating a very scrumptious meal.
Once the second group’s dodgeball came to an end, both groups got together for a grade-wide egg drop competition. This is an activity in which everyone splits into small groups, and they are given an egg and a manila envelope containing some materials. Each group is to work together to come up with a contraption, only using what they have in the envelope in which they will place the egg. Then, one by one, the egg contraptions are dropped from a certain height, and whichever contraption successfully protected the egg from cracking would win. Boy, was this an intense part of the night. However, the night had not ended yet.
The last fun activity of the evening was arguably one of the best parts of the night. A couple of weeks prior to the Freshmen Night In, a google form was sent out to all of the freshmen talmidim asking them which activity they’d rather do. The options included a ping pong tournament, a Madden 21 tournament, and a Nok Hockey tournament. However, I didn’t choose any of them and instead went to the new hangout room, which was then opened to the public the next day. This new room includes an NBA arcade, an arcade basketball game, and a foosball table! And if that’s not enough, there are very comfortable bean bag chairs all over the room for you to sit and chill!
At the end of the night, this event had brought the students closer to each other and closer to their Rabbeim. Although it had been changed to fit COVID-19 protocols, it was definitely one of the best nights of my life, and I’m sure the other freshmen feel the same way.