After services, we went outside took a picture and went to dinner. We had chicken, matzo ball soup, potatoes, and veggies; it was really good. Later after dinner where we got to know each other better after throwing pieces of paper at each other in a "snowball" fight. We then split up into groups and took random lines from songs and performed them. It was really cool to see how talented people are!!
After we did a program where we took the first step in removing our masks and becoming more comfortable with everyone while getting to try on cool masks. It was the first time we really opened up to each other and it was amazing to see how comfortable we were with each other after one night. After this programming was done for the night but people still hung out and played jungle speed which got really intense. Overall it was a really good first day.
On Saturday, we continued to bond throughout the day. We started the day with a very Jewish breakfast- bagels. We then had a fantastic service led by Rabbi Symons, where we played with pray dough to allow us to express our beliefs through creativity. Before lunch, we had a discussion group with m&ms to share our thoughts on Israel and Judaism in an accepting way.
For lunch we had a delicious meal of chicken nuggets and fries. Before our break, our JCs led some programs to help with teamwork. They also made a scavenger hunt where we were tied together and one team member was in a potato sack. This made us work together to overcome obstacles.
Finally, our awesome Added Value Team made another fabulous scavenger hunt to help us get to know the camp. After this, we were given a break where we played football and cards.
Before dinner, we had a Jewish Identity Buffet to help us figure out who we are as a Jew. For dinner, we had spaghetti and meatballs. Then, we had a beautiful havdalah service. After, we made T-Shirts where we wrote characteristics about ourselves to make us think about how we want others to view us. We also had a fishbowl circle where we helped others solve problems. Our last program was a sacred trust hike where we grew closer as a cohort. Finally, we ended the evening with an amazing round of lap tag!
- Jordana Avigad
On the last day of our first Shabbaton as a cohort, we woke up at an early 7:30 in the morning to go on an amazing caving experience at Laurel Caverns, a three-mile long cave, making it the largest in Pennsylvania. We packed our bags and loaded them onto the bus waiting for us outside the lodge and Emma Kaufmann Camp (EKC). After we had our breakfast in the dining hall, we packed our lunches for later after caving. We then hopped on the bus and left EKC.
On our arrival at Laurel Caverns, we all received our helmets for caving and put on our flashlights. As we made our way into the cave, it began to get darker and darker until, if the flashlights were not on, it was pitch black. The caves were amazing, and our guide, Ken, gave us very interesting information about the cave along the way. He also told us that the cave was about 45 stories deep, making us realize how cool and almost scary it was to be down there. In the cave, there were many difficult obstacles to overcome, like climbing up rocks, stepping over slippery rocks, and even crawling through shallow water in very tight spaces. At one point in the caves, we had to turn off all of our lights and climb in complete darkness. This experience, while also scary, was awesome and fun.
After we circled back to the beginning after a three-hour trip, we got changed out of our wet, muddy clothes and ate lunch outside of the caverns. When we finished eating, we got back on the bus and were driven back to the JCC, where we said our goodbyes and left with the realization that we had bonded so much as a cohort and had had an amazing weekend.
- Derek Bashe