By Rabbi Shira Wallach
Shabbat teaches us to create a palace in time; each week, once we tend to the required creation and work, we are rewarded with a whole day to celebrate, renew, and rest. But how often do our weekends allow us to access this ideal? Sometimes, it becomes necessary to build additional levels of intentionality and purpose into our Shabbat planning. And furthermore, sometimes it becomes necessary to seek out a new space, away from the hubbub of everyday life, to explore and reboot our relationships with one another, with God, and with Shabbat.
This past weekend, Adam, Hannah, and I had the extraordinary privilege and joy of taking ten families to Greene Family Camp. We unplugged from the outside world and instead focused on elevating our commitment to our children and our community. We welcomed Shabbat with song and reflection, we explored the parasha through bibliodrama and family storytelling. Once our kids were asleep, we parents had the opportunity to study torah and connect Talmudic stories about loving relationships to our own lives. We sang, we laughed, we explored. And of course, we ended Shabbat with a campfire Havdalah and s’mores.
I am so grateful to the families who joined us and to my partners in planning and execution. Each and every person brought his or her own gifts to the weekend and made it special. Thank you to Sarah Katz, Sarah Lipinsky, Malka Amster, and Marisa Rivner for their organization, energy, leadership, and vision. Thank you to Adam Roffman, my chevruta!
Here are some comments from retreat participants:
It was a beautiful weekend of community, faith, family fun, and making new friends. Just wonderful!
Reality hit hard again this morning—I want to go back! We had such a wonderful weekend—thanks to everyone who made it possible.
Thanks for a great time! Loved seeing all our children play together too!
On Saturday afternoons, we pray in the Mincha Amidah that we will have the ability to take the holiness of Shabbat and allow it to permeate our week. I hope that we can all be inspired to seek the full potential of Shabbat so that we have both the strength and resolve to infuse our world with much needed peace.
Shearith Israel clergy, staff and congregants share