Orthodox Jewish Occupational Therapy Chavrusa

AOTA 2014 Conference - Baltimore, MD

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Shabbat In Baltimore -- An Experience to Remember

From the stirring sounds of L’Chah Dodi that echoed through 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, with 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 hosted 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 Druk 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 and ideas.

Barbara Kornblau, JD, OTR/L, FAOTA, a Past President of 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 about situations that they had encountered in college or in the workplace.

Rivka Molinsky, PhD, OTR/L Program Director of the OTA program at Touro College, led a “round table discussion” about experiences in college and the workplace. 

Both sessions were spirited, well-attended and provided an 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 to be the same thought on so many people’s mind – what can we do to top this next year in Nashville?


Welcome to the Ruth Room, named after baseball great, Babe Ruth


From Before Candle Lighting Until after Havdalah this was the home of our Baltimore OJOTC Shabbaton


Five Tables Set for Kiddush; More Than 50 Joined Us for Meals


This Was Our "Shul" for this Special Shabbat, With a Sefer Torah Loaned to us by Chabad of Downtown Baltimore


Candle Lighting to Begin Our Shabbaton


It Has Become a Tradition of us to Invite Jewish Women to Join Us for Candle Lighting At Conference

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You Can't See It in the Dark, But Everyone Was Crowded Together As Paul Stadtler Led Us in Havdalah


Two of Our Servers From the Baltimore Hilton, Along With a Special Guest.  His Name is "Puppy" and He Goes Everywhere with Peggy and Noah Gurock

What They Had To Say About Our OJOTC Shabbaton


Shabbat was beautiful ... Full of warmth and spirituality. I gained a lot from being able to discuss professional and cultural issues with the other participants.

Helen Kramer, OTR, Edison, NJ


Kol Hakod to all involved.

Fran Hisler, OTR, Rockville, MD


It was so nice to sit around a table with everyone. Looking forward to doing this again.

Brynn Rosen, OTR, Brooklyn, NY


I really enjoyed the experience -- had an opportunity to meet many new people, hear lots of good sessions, spend time talking to people presenting at the poster sessions and the exhibition hall.  I enjoyed the luxury of being able to pick and choose from a variety of interests -- some related to past OT work, and others related to volunteer work I now do with seniors.

Eileen Rosenbaum, OTR, Baltimore, MD


Thank you all for allowing me to join you. I really enjoyed getting to know you all. 

At the business meeting a concern was brought up about meeting the needs of the physically handicapped. We should discuss more awareness and accommodations for the group! 

Shari Stein-Ballow, OTR, Staten Island, NY


It was such a wonderful Shabbos. I so enjoyed meeting everyone and catching up with old friends as well. Food was delicious.

Ilana Danneman, Atlanta, GA


Let us keep it growing!!! Loved meeting new people.

Shoshanna Shamberg, OTR/L, FAOTA, Baltimore, MD


The food was great and the room was perfect. I also enjoyed having the
group discussions and the opportunity to meet some very interesting
people. Our Shabbos gathering was a highlight of the conference for

Danny Minkow, OTS, Atlanta, GA