Sunday dawned with brilliant sunshine and a gentle breeze, the perfect backdrop for the spirits exuberant men, women and children boarding the majestic ship for Misameach’s one-of-a-kind Annual Cruise. The singing could be heard from down the block, getting louder and louder as we approached the ship standing ready and waiting at the Hyatt marina.
Walking up the gangplank and entering the boat, we were immediately enveloped in the joy and the excitement reverberating throughout the boat, as we were greeted by volunteers as if we were family.
The music started before the boat left the marina, as the dance floor took on a life of its own. Families settled in, finding their places at the many gaily decorated tables and enjoying the lavish lunch buffet that seemed to never run out.
And then, with a slight lurch, the boat took to the choppy waters of the Hudson River, as it embarked on its three hour trip, a trip that, since its inception several years ago, has become symbolic of the remarkable experiences created by Misameach for hundreds of sick children and their families.
Families enjoyed the view out on the decks, taking in the sights of the Statue of Liberty, South Street Seaport and the helipad, and the imposing Manhattan skyline. They were joined by many special guests, including the legendary New York Assemblyman Dov Hikind.
Inside the ship, the Ruach never abated, thanks to the musical talents of the legendary Ohad, Yehuda Green, Shloimy Taussig , Baruch Shalom,and Moshe zzukerman sound engineer accompanied by the amazing and the most leibidige volunteers known to mankind.
Never seeming to tire, the volunteers danced the cruise away, sweeping children into the lively circles and watching the smiles transform their faces as they felt the warmth and the love and the joy of their Misameach family.
The one and only Cousin Nochum performed a hilarious clown show that had all of the children involved.
While the ground level was turned into a concert hall, the second floor was home to a child’s wonderland. Aside for the food, a whole host of games and activities entertained the children for the duration of the cruise. Crafts, face painting, cotton candy and more were supervised by dedicated volunteers who naturally and gracefully made every child feel special.
Clowns in all their regalia created balloon sculptures according to every child’s specification, while keeping them laughing, dancing and singing as they waited.
And then, before anyone was quite ready, the program wrapped up and the boat made its way back to the dock.
As the exhilarated passengers disembarked, carrying memories they will cherish for a very long time, we were treated to one last expression of Misameach’s generosity: a gift bag loaded with toys and games for children of all ages, stages and genders.
As children exclaimed over the goodies, their parents exchanged smiles and winks, knowing that the memories and the encouragement they gained on that cruise will last for long after.