This past Shabbos, hundreds of Hebrew School students and their parents traveled to New Jersey for the highly-anticipated CKids Shabbaton, which was the experience of a lifetime.
Photos: Itzik Roitman and Sholem Srugo
11-year old Jake Sortin has never been to the Ohel before. “I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect.”
His mom, Ella, who joined him on the CKids Shabbaton, was equally apprehensive. “I was worried I’d say or do the wrong thing at such a holy place,” she confessed.
But after buses of hundreds of Hebrew School parents and their children pulled up to the Ohel this Sunday, even first-timers were in for an inspiring and transformational Ohel experience. A video was played giving background on the experience, and kids and parents were walked through all the steps of writing a letter, removing shoes, giving tzedaka, lighting a candle, and reading their pan in the Ohel.
The Ohel experience was just one part of the life-changing CKids Shabbaton, an experience that kids look forward to for months. “Both kids and parents left on a complete high,” says Rabbi Zalmy Loewenthal, director of CKids.
Kids were put into bunks with caring counselors who took them through a packed schedule of thrilling fun, including a surprise ice cream truck, a trip to the American Dream mall’s new theme park, and a Motzei Shabbos getaway to SkyZone. Meanwhile, their parents were treated to a complete schedule of their own—complete with team building activities like axe throwing and a Mikvah tour at Chabad of Princeton, guest speakers, Torah classes, and farbrengens, and a parent-child Minute to Win it competition that was a hilarious highlight for many.
“This weekend was the first time in several years that I felt like we were part of a large community,” one parent told her shlucha after the Shabbaton. “I am blown away by all the work that Chabad is doing by bringing together Jews of all backgrounds and helping them feel that they truly belong.”
Kids, parents, and shluchim alike are already getting excited for next year’s CKids Shabbaton. “Let us know the date now so we can plan our Hebrew School calendar around it!” one shlucha said.
The goal of CKids International is to provide cutting-edge educational resources for Chabad Houses around the world. Besides for the JewQ competition, CKids is behind revolutionary curriculums, exciting holiday clubs, and meaningful and fun Camp Gan Israel programs. “JewQ has furthered the CKids mission by bringing Yiddishkeit to life,” says Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, Vice Chairman of Merkos L’inyonei Chinuch.
Rochel Danzinger – Shabbaton Director
Dovid Weinbaum Dovid Weinbaum of DW productions – Logistics Coordinator
Ms. Mussie Dubov
Ms. Shaina Ezagui
Mrs. Mushka Katz
Ms. Risa Mond
Ms. Doba Richler
Mrs. Mussie Weiss
Mrs. Bracha Yurkowitz
Ms. Chaya Zirkind
Nechama Block – Head Counselor
Sharona Kuperman – Head Counselor
To learn more about JewQ, visit CKids.net/jewq.