When the group of 25 teens arrived in Tannersville, NY, for the annual L’man Achai Shabbaton, the temperature read -12F. By Sunday, it had jumped to 40F, allowing them to proceed with other skiing plans.
A group of 25 teens gathered in a large house in Tannersville NY, a small town located three hours north of New York City. The weather reads minus 12F, it’s beyond freezing, and the locals tell us it’s the coldest weekend in 47 years.
Zadok Michelson is quick to realize he may have not packed enough winter gear. Zadok’s hometown is on the tropical island of Kona, Hawaii. He spent approximately 15 hours of travel time and hundreds of dollars just to be able to join the weekend. Others have made the long trip from their hometowns and high schools located all across the United States.
They gathered together with some of their staff from Camp L’man Achai this past summer, for a Shabbaton that will be remembered. They spent time connecting, inspiring and reinforcing their pride and commitment to Judaism.
Daniel Namdar and Shneur Vechter, the Shabbaton coordinators shared that “our goal was to provide the campers a Shabbos of reliving the camp experience, the Shabbos vibes full of energy and fun, and to provide our campers, in middle of the winter an opportunity to recharge their Jewish pride.”
The davenings, meals and farbrengens all shared high energy spirits and a special touch of warmth.
Nathan Shluper, a camper from Randolph NJ who attended a Jewish camp for the first time this past summer reflected, “it was nice seeing the catching up with friends from camp, and bonding again for a Shabbos. Despite the temperature being frigid, the Shabbaton was warm-hearted and gave me the opportunity to be extra Jewish; a feeling that can’t be recreated at home.”
“This was a Shabbos I will remember for the rest of my life” shared Gavriel Kollin, one of the beloved staff.
At the Shabbos meals, many campers shared how they missed camp, and the profound impact it had on their lives.
On Sunday, the weather took a miraculous turn for the better. A warm and sunny day with a forecast of 40F, perfect for an enjoyable day out skiing at the nearby Hunter Mountain Resort.
For Zadok, who completes annually in swimming and gymnastics competitions in Hawaii, it will only be the third time seeing snow. Surrounded by his encouraging friends, he is quick to take on a whole new level of challenge, he slides into rented snowboarding gear, and amazingly, it didn’t take long before Zadok is treading the steep black diamond slopes with ease.
Nathan, also a first-time skier shared, “coming from someone who has never skied before, the energy and tips from my friends helped a lot and made the whole experience memorable.”
When summing up the overall experience of the Shabbaton many teens shared similar sentiments, “I left the Shabbaton feeling very empowered and reinforced in my Judaism,” shared one camper. “Though at home it won’t be easy for me to continue growing the way I grew around all these amazing people, the Shabbaton gave me newfound hope and energy I hope to take back with me into my day-to-day life”.
Nathan Gluzman, a camper from Rockland County NY, summed up his experience “The Shabbaton was great. I had a lot of fun talking with my friends from all over the USA, eating kosher food, praying and the highlight skiing. Playing board games with everyone was also a really nice part of my trip.”
Camp L’man Achai is a Jewish overnight camp that combines an enriched Jewish atmosphere with the best recreation programs. The camp’s breathtaking panoramic views in the upper Catskill Mountains offer an opportune oasis for children to experience the warmth and beauty of their heritage in a safe, friendly, and warm environment.
For more information about Camp L’man Achai visit their website at www.camplmanachai.com.