As our teens arrived on Friday afternoon, we were quickly reminded of why our Havayah community is so special. Dropping their luggage, participants eagerly greeted each other and transitioned into some teen-led mixer activities to launch our Shabbaton. Shabbatonim (retreats) are one of the highlights of the Havayah program, with TBE teens in Grades 8-10 coming together as a community at camp or a local retreat center for incredible, relaxing Shabbat weekends of learning, community-building and fun! Together with members of our clergy and the TBE Youth Programs team, teens participate in Shabbat services, engage in social and team-building activities, and spend free time with friends (both old and new).
This year, our Shabbaton curriculum is focused on the theme of SEEKER, asking the questions:
What am I looking for as a Jewish teen?
How do I find my unique place in the community?
How do I connect with God and spirituality?
What are the challenges in my life today, and how can I find support and meaning in Judaism?
You can learn more about our Shabbatonim and Havayah Core Curriculum on our website.
Shabbat dinner is always a highlight at our Shabbatonim, as we gather as a community to welcome Shabbat, eat, spend time with friends, sing songs and appreciate the kehilah kedoshah (holy community) that we have built.
After Shabbat dinner, we entered an interactive t'filah experience. You can view many of the questions raised and kavanot threaded throughout our t'filah on Twitter.
Our programming on Saturday focused on identifying and strengthening the connections we have in our lives, that we have with ourselves, each other, the communities we belong to, the places we spend time at...in addition to the connections we seek to create and build in the future. Many thanks to our teens for helping to build what is truly a kehilah kedoshah (holy community). The sacred space and moments we create together are inspiring and motivating. Also, we have a number of juniors and seniors who help create, write, implement and lead the programming that goes on at our Shabbatonim. It is largely because of their dedication and creativity that we continue to raise the bar for our teen community, and we are consistently amazed at how talented and passionate they are.
Photos from the weekend have been posted on our website, in addition to other on our Facebook page. Don't forget to like us!
In addition to our programming and Shabbat experience, we had the opportunity to briefly discuss and reflect on the current situation in Israel. Our prayers and hearts are certainly with our friends, family and the people of Israel, and we pray for peace and a speedy resolution. Emily Langowitz, a TBE member and proud Havayah alumna who is currently in her first year of Rabbinical School at Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion, is spending the year studying in Jerusalem. She took a few moments to share some of her thoughts with our teens, and encouraged us to educate ourselves, keep asking questions and stay informed. See below to hear Emily's remarks:
Havayah Seeker Playlist
Check back soon for links to the songs we sang and listened to during the Shabbaton!
Do you have a song that you think we should add to our Seeker Playlist? Send your suggestions to Stephen!