MidWest Shabbaton Recap

4 weeks ago Shai Fichtelberg 0

This year, I had the opportunity to go—as the only Californian—to the Midwest TGIS Shabbaton with CTeen Naperville. It was so special to not only go to my first regional shabbaton (which just so happened to not be my region), but to also visit four girls who went with me on CTeen Heritage Quest this summer.

As we got to Camp Nageela in Illinois, we were greeted by CTeeners from Milwaukee, Skokie, Mequon, and Naperville. This nice little camp in the middle of the forest was the best place to make amazing friends. Being from sunny California, let me just tell you I was not ready for this cold. A day at Six Flags to be remembered forever as the day my face went numb. But even in the cold, with minimal sleep, I could not have been more happy to be surrounded by such strong and proud Jewish men and women. The Midwest shabbaton helped me create lasting memories and friendships that I didn’t know I needed. Now I can take home with me that I was the part of the winning cupcake wars team and that I was stuck in O’hare airport for 9 hours, but more importantly, I can take home the friendships and the insights that I gained.

One thing from the Shabbaton that really stuck with me from the Shabbaton was the idea of unapologetic Judaism. Rabbi Schapiro, from Milwaukee, shared that he tells his Milwaukee CTeeners all the time to be unapologetic about their Judaism, to celebrate the holidays, to wear a Kippah, to wrap Tefillin. The idea that we must be proud and and not hide our Judaism especially when there are so many Jewish teens in public schools who are to scared to wear a Kippah or show their Judaism because of fear of discrimination. And an amazing thing that came out of unapologetic Judaism is one of the teens has started wearing his kippah to school every day. As a Jewish student in public school, I can feel lost, that I am drowning but I will continue to take this idea back home with me and continue to share it with my CTeen.