The Best Shabbaton Yet! | By Sam Hollander

6 years ago Leighest 0

I am happy to say to say that this year’s CTeen International Shabbaton was the best yet. This was my fifth and last CTeen International shabbaton, so I am of course upset to leave, but I have gained so many memories and friends along the way, especially on this Shabbaton. I have danced, toured New York, and of course ate tons of food over five years at these extravagant weekends, but there is even more to the CTeen Shabbaton than just those things.

What makes the CTeen Shabbaton special is that they get at the heart of Judaism, and bring people closer to each other as well as to Hashem. And that is what I experienced above all else on this Shabbaton. I immediately arrived and was welcomed with the faces of the nicest people I have ever met. And there were no awkward feelings between anyone. Every person acted as if they had known each other their whole lives. And at the end of the shabbaton, I really felt like I had known everyone my whole life.

One of the best parts of the shabbaton was the constant singing coupled with its display of Jewish pride. We sang in the trains and on the streets from the depths of our hearts. The songs still reverberate in my heart as of today.

The learning experience was tremendous as well. I even stayed up discussing Jewish philosophy with one of my friends until four in the morning. Despite the lack of sleep, I felt rejuvenated by the knowledge I obtained.

But what essentially makes this shabbaton unbelievable every year —as I mentioned earlier—is the people that show up. Everyone comes from a different state, country, continent, etc, but we all share Jewish values and pride, and to me, meeting these people and seeing our similarities is what made me truly connected to my Judaism. The amazing weekend culminated in 1500 teens dancing and singing in Times Square. And I will cherish that connectedness even after I leave.

Every single person at this shabbaton was and continues to be amazing. And I would like to thank everyone for coming, because you all made it the best weekend of my life.