All of the girls slept in the same house, which created the perfect environment for a bonding experience. Friday night, after a beautiful davening at Beth Israel, following a very well-coordinated dinner and activity with the boys, the girls returned to their host home where Mrs. Gottlieb had delicious food waiting. The group crowded around the table and chatted about their middle school past, their goals for high school, and everything in between.
Friendships were not only created, but were strengthened.
“This shabbat we truly connected as a family,” said Miriam Magen.
The next morning, students went to shul again, but this time davened in the teen minyan. Other Hebrew Academy high school students joined the 9th graders for the davening portion of the shabbaton. After davening and kiddish, activities began.
Students divided into groups and talked about the dangers of BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions), an anti-Israel movement. After their discussion, they walked to the Sakas’ house, where Mrs. Saka had a delicious lunch prepared. They ate, sang, and the girls played ping-pong while the boys played pool. Then, they walked to Mount Sinai Hospital, where they met with all of the Jewish patients, talked to them, sang to them, and gave them cards. Following that, they walked to the Wolfsons’ for Seudat Shilishit. While there, they ate tasty food and sat in a circle talking about what the shabbaton meant to them.
“This has been a great experience for me,” said Luciano Fernandez. “Considering I am new to this school and because of different schedules, I don’t always see everyone. This class has brought me in and made me feel a part of the family. I can’t wait for upcoming events to establish more bonds with the boys who couldn’t make it.”
After everyone shared their thoughts about the shabbaton, they concluded with a beautiful Havdalah service.
Although not many of the boys could make it, they hope to attend future events.
“I am really upset I missed a memorable weekend for our grade,” said Jacob Stein who was at the Memphis basketball tournament during the shabbaton. “I have even been going out of my way lately to talk to my new classmates, who I was unfortunately not able to bond with over the shabbaton. I hope we have future events for our grade that will allow me to form friendships with students who are either in some or none of my classes.”
The 9th grade class would like to thank Rabbi Ney for putting the Shabbaton together, along with Dr. Lieber and Rabbi Assaraf for allowing this to happen, and to all of the other teachers who attended: Morah Yaara, Rav Weil, Rabbi Bossewitch, Mrs. Berman, Mrs. Shapiro, Ms. Baumgarten, Mrs. Zuckerman, and Rabbi Laine.
By: Samantha Ebner (10th grade)