Noa Kattler Kupetz
With the ending of Shabbat and their final Milken Shabbaton, the senior class returned home rejuvenated on Saturday, February 6. The Class of 2014, plus their senior advisors, spent two days at Camp Alonim where they enjoyed a communal Shabbat experience. A twist from prior Shabbatons, this year’s weekend was planned by the class of 2014 Class Council and entirely student-run.
“Our goal was for the grade to maintain their Jewish identities while celebrating others,” said Benji Donitz ’14, Class Council Representative.
The Class Council noticed the significant potential of a Shabbaton; the gathering of a pluralistic community, and the opportunity to create dialogue in a warm, relaxed setting.
“Planning [the Shabbaton] had its obstacles, but we were really effective at listening intently to what each of us had to say, which helped tremendously in putting together the final schedule,” Donitz said.
Students were given plenty of free time to rewind, and were also excited to attend services and workshops led by their peers.
“It was extremely meaningful to lead a workshop and have articulate, intellectual, and thought-provoking conversations. I can honestly say by leading a discussion and listening to my peers, I am more comfortable with my Judaism,” Daniel Howard ’14 said. Howard led a discussion about keeping kosher, one of many opportunities for conversation that students had throughout the weekend.
Looking back on the weekend, Dani Reisbaum ’14 mentioned that the Shabbaton held extra significance this year as, “many of us are going off to college next year, and in terms of Judaism, we do not know what anyone will decide to do, but this [Shabbaton] helped us at least begin thinking about it.”
Others echo Reisbaum’s sentiments, feeling like the student-led weekend allowed them to experiment with Jewish leadership they may hold in the future.
“I feel that it went well and we were able to peel back the layers from a good portion of our grade and had deep intellectual conversations that perhaps one wouldn't expect from a group of fun loving seniors,” Donitz said.
With the Shabbaton behind them, the senior class has entered their last few months at Milken. Fueled by the passion and bonding felt as they shared a Shabbat, the class of 2014 is set for a warm and meaningful end to their Milken experience.