by Rachel Silver
This past weekend, my friends and I made the trip up to Camp Chi and Perlstein Retreat Center for the Fall Shabbaton. The Shabbaton is a weekend away for adults within the Keshet community to participate in all kinds of fun activities, celebrate Shabbat and hang out with friends and staff. Although this is only my second time going, I look forward to the Shabbaton every year and this year’s was so much fun. Both the staff and participants were all so welcoming and seemed as happy as I was to be there. It’s nice for me to get away and do something different from my normal routine. It’s a great opportunity to meet new people and try new things!
One of the highlights for me about the Shabbaton is having roommates to hang out with. My roommates were two friends of mine that I don’t get to see all the time so it was a blast to just be in our room and spend time together. I honestly can’t think of a moment the whole weekend when we weren’t all laughing together! I also love that the Shabbaton has activities that I don’t get to do all the time. My favorite parts of the weekend were going rock climbing, making s’mores and learning about Veterans Day from one of the staff who served in the army. I also enjoyed volunteering in the greenhouse at JCC’s Rainbow Day Camp in Milwaukee. Activities like this get me to try new things.
What makes the Shabbaton unique is that there is really something for everyone. For most of the weekend, we get a choice of activities and then get to decide what we want to do. For example, there are different Shabbat services for people who are more or less religious and opportunities to observe the holiday at different levels. The weekend is also very accommodating for people with different disabilities. The staff serve as a great support for all of us for anything we may need and are also just so much fun to spend time with.
I think the biggest thing I have learned from the Shabbaton is how to be inclusive and open minded. I always made sure that everyone felt welcome and were having a good time. Trying new foods, activities and introducing myself to new friends are just some of the many things I am proud of myself for doing this weekend. I am thankful to Keshet for being a safe place for me to feel comfortable to try new things and be myself. Overall, it was the best weekend and I can’t wait for the adult spring trip and to come back next year!