Categories: Kosher Vacations
- Cost: Free!!!
Tour Operator: Ohr Naava Women's Torah Center
- Free Bowling
- Free Pizza
- Free Music
Every Saturday Night at Kiamesha Lanes
On Route 42 in Kiamesha Lanes. Will be open from 11:00PM to 2:00AM, every Motzei Shabbos, July 4th to August 22nd except July 25th (Tisha B’av).
Girls Only ages 16 and above
Sponsoed by Ohr Naava Women’s Torach CenterWhile Ohr Naava programs run year ‘round, they are especially active in the summer, when hundreds of girls converge upon the Catskills to work as mother’s helpers and day camp counselors. In the past, many of these young women would find themselves with too much time on their hands, especially on Motzoei Shabbos. The results were not pretty…
Five years ago, in response to the desperate situation, Rabbi Wallerstein arranged for a ‘kosher,’ free night out for girls and women, every Motzoei Shabbos at Kiamesha Lanes, a well-known bowling alley.
It’s 1:00 a.m. on a summer Motzoei Shabbos, and Kiamesha Lanes is full of life. Over 200 girls of all ages and backgrounds have gathered for their weekly free entertainment, including bowling, simcha dancing, and delicious free pizza. In the background, Franny Kaiser, who’s been managing Kiamesha Lanes for several years, is circulating among the crowd, making sure everyone is happy and comfortable. Girls drift in and out of the circles, dancing, bowling, eating and meeting their friends.
Although during the week, Kiamesha Lanes charges a fee for bowling, on Motzoei Shabbos through the summer, bowling (plus refreshments and dancing) are on the house. Every week more girls show up, bringing along their friends, to enjoy the atmosphere and food. The bowling alley is rented weekly by Ohr Naava, and supervised carefully by the devoted Ohr Naava staff.
“It’s so much nicer now that the girls are coming each weekend,” says Franny, whose grandparents were religious. Her father, a Monticello firefighter, taught her the value of responsibility and of taking action. “You know, it used to be a hassle for us, especially on Saturday nights. We would have to yell at people to calm down, and wonder how many folks would show up. Now, since Rabbi Wallerstein and his staff are here to take charge, things are so much calmer. And the girls are having a grand time.”
What was the situation like on Motzoei Shabbos before Ohr Naava came into the picture?
“It’s best not to get into details,” says Rabbi Wallerstein. “Suffice it to say, the ‘nightlife’ in many locations, especially Woodbourne, left much to be desired. Many fine, responsible parents who sent their daughters to work in the Catskills had no idea what their children were doing in their free time. It was a free-for-all situation, as not all the day camps took responsibility for their counselors over the weekend.”
The ‘party scene’ on Motzoei Shabbos was posing a spiritual and physical danger to Jewish teens. Yet it was very difficult, if not impossible, to ‘police’ the mountains. Rabbi Wallerstein realized that the hard work that his staff puts into the girls all year can be undone by just two months in the mountains.
By giving Jewish girls something kosher and exciting to do on Motzoei Shabbos, along with free entertainment and refreshments, the lure of unsupervised parties and
other questionable activities was greatly diminished.
“We have hundreds of girls coming each Motzoei Shabbos,” said Shuli Rennert, a devoted Ohr Naava volunteer, who traveled from Monsey each week to spend most of the night at Kiamesha Lanes, supervising the action. “We order over 20 pizza pies, and there is constantly music and dancing. The ruach cannot be described.” One Saturday night spent with the wrong crowd can create a downward spiral that can be very difficult to reverse. Conversely, one Motzoei Shabbos in an all-girls environment, having fun in a kosher atmosphere, often creates a ripple that will propel many a girl in the right direction. Throughout the evening, from half past
eleven until three a.m., Rabbi Wallerstein, Rabbi Max and Rabbi Elefant stand in the parking lot, making sure that the ‘girls only’ rule is strictly enforced. During this time, girls were given opportunity to speak with their mentors and get a boost in the right direction.