A few weeks ago, we had our first Shabbaton as a cohort. We arrived at the Family Retreat Center Friday afternoon, and after dropping our stuff at at the cabins where we would be staying, we met in the dining area to do some fun icebreakers. We then participated in the Diller White Shabbat, and got to have a really nice Shabbat service with Rabbi Symons. We ate dinner in assigned seats, which worked out really well because it allowed us to talk with everybody else. That evening, we participated in ma’agal lilah, which was like a sharing circle that let us get to know each other . Before going to bed, we all got together in the boys’ bunks to play a great game and bond even more.
The next morning, we woke up and ate breakfast before starting our day with a fun wake-up game. Then we split up into two groups (either Pray-Doh or Discussion with Chris) to do Saturday morning services. We then did a fun activity with the ropes course in the woods before having lunch. After lunch, we had a ruach circle, and then we had some free time, so we all hung out or took a nap. That afternoon, we met up again to do the Jewish Identity Buffet, which really made me explore what my Judaism meant to me and how I saw myself as a Jew. We then did a really nice Havdalah service as a great way to bring Shabbat to a close. After that, we made Identity T-shirts, which continued with our theme of the weekend. There was also an activity with balloons where we gave each other advice for issues that were really personal. Then we did a trust walk and sharing circle, which made us really open up to the other members of our group and bring us closer. We ended the evening with a fun bonfire, and drew names for the Secret Hanukkah Harry for the next meeting.
On Sunday morning, we got to sleep in a little bit before having breakfast and doing one last identity activity, where we thought about what values are most important to us both individually and as a group. We also shared what we liked and didn’t like about this weekend, and how we all feel about the cohort after growing closer. We ate lunch and then did our Tikkun Olam activity, where we made blankets for kids who suffered from some type of disease, and then had a group discussion.
- Becca Avigad