Sophomore Shabbaton


Rachel Buller ’25

Ramaz Shabbatonim are an experience for students to bond in a special environment. On December 9th, the sophomores departed the building for their second Shabbaton of high school. They started off their weekend on Friday morning with roller skating. Instead of dancing to disco beats, the sophomores enjoyed grooving to the Miami Boys Choir songs on repeat. Lindsay Chuback ’25 said that her favorite part of the weekend was the rollerblading. “I’ve never been before, and getting to learn how to with my friends was such a fun bonding experience that was truly the perfect start to shabbaton,” said Chuback ’25. 

Once the sophomores arrived at the Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel, it was time to start preparing for Shabbos. When everyone was dressed in their Shabbat attire, students gathered on the mezzanine of the hotel to take pictures with each other in order to capture the excitement of the Shabbaton. Sarah Kalimi’s ’25 favorite part of the weekend was “pre-Shabbos pictures, hanging with everyone there, and bringing in Shabbos.” After the cameras stopped clicking, it was time for the pre-Shabbat dance party followed by Kabbalat Shabbat. Avi Flatto-Katz ’25 loved “the davening and the atmosphere that was created when we had the whole grade singing to welcome in Shabbos.”

After davening, students and teachers and their families sat down for Friday night dinner. During the meal, students began leading fun and interactive zemirot and Stella Hiltzik ’25 delivered a Dvar Torah. After the meal, students and teachers broke out into group learning sessions to discuss the difficulty and importance of making choices. Stella Hiltzik ’25 learned “that choices are really hard to make and do not come easy. Sometimes, there is no good choice [to make]; you just have to do your best and go with your gut.” Following the sessions came dessert, a trivia game, and then free time before bed.

Shabbos morning began with breakfast followed by Shacharit. During Torah reading, Rabbi Dani Ritholtz and Ms. Ilana Wilner engaged students with their Parsha questions. After davening, there was a kiddush before the next learning session led by a different group of faculty. This session was about learning how to give an improvised Dvar Torah. Afterwards, a select group of students competed in a Dvar Torah competition. Next came lunch, Mincha, and then more free time to play games, hang out, or rest. “My favorite part of Shabbaton was getting to play board games with all my friends and teachers,” said  Sophie Obstfeld ’25. “It helped me bond with so many friends and also many [classmates] that I normally don’t hang out with outside of school.” 

As Shabbos was coming to an end, the entire sophomore class came together in a big circle to sing Zemirot led by Rabbi Dov Pianko. Kalimi ’25 commented that she wished “Shabbos would have ended later” in order to have more time to sing as a grade. Once Shabbos was over, they sang havdalah as a grade followed by a limbo dance party. After packing up, the sophomores and teachers headed to SkyZone. 

On the bus, music was blasting. The students were greeted in the trampoline park with glow-in-the-dark shirts. When ranking the activities from the weekend, Flatto-Katz ’25 ranked SkyZone as his favorite. When asked to rate the overall Shabbaton experience, Hiltzik ’25 rated it a “10,000,000,000 out of 10.”