Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Diller Cohort 4 Shabbaton 2

The Shabbaton for Cohort 4 had to be rescheduled due to Blizzard Nemo! The rescheduled retreat took place from March 1st-3rd at Camp Ramah in Palmer, MA.
Check out our photos here:

Programming during this retreat varied according to the pillars of Diller. One program focused on the meaning of Tikkun Olam, from a Kabbalistic perspective. The group had to think back to the first time that they noticed that there were problems in the world, when they were young children. They did some text study on a few important and meaningful quotes related to social justice. Two other programs focused on the Fellows' personal connection to Israel, the history of Zionism, and the history of events since before the founding of the state of Israel. Two Fellows reflect on the Shabbat experience, and Maagal Lila (night circle):

Liza Sherman (Needham):
Friday evening, right after settling in to Camp Ramah and changing into our finest Shabbat outfits, we all gathered to have a more traditional Kabbalat Shabbat service. Last retreat, we did a more alternative activity to discuss the meaning of Kabbalat Shabbat and each fellows traditions. For this retreat, we did more traditional prayers, followed by a quick song session that helped get us prepared and excited for Shabbat. Personally, I loved this song session and it was a great way to start our retreat off and begin Shabbat. On Saturday morning, we once again gathered for a more traditional service. For the torah service, the rituals committee led us all in a discussion about the parsha from a few weeks prior (from the original Shabbat before the retreat was postponed). This discussion got all of us fellows thinking on somewhat controversial topics and it was nice to share our opinions and hear each others as well. For most of us, these more traditional services were inviting and welcoming, making everyone feel joyous and excited for Shabbat. For me, I loved sitting and listening to everyone praying and singing, and these Shabbat services were a great way to start off the retreat. Later that day for Havdallah, another committee led us all in the Havdallah prayers as well as an excellent compliment activity. Prior to the retreat, each fellow was assigned a name of another fellow to create a compliment for. These compliments were then shared anonymously in front of the group right before the Havdallah service. These compliments were truly kind and shared loving and caring aspects of each person, as well as funny things too. While singing the Havdallah songs and prayers, there was a great feeling in the room, each Fellow truly feeling close and connected to each other. Havdallah was a great way to end off our Shabbat experience for this retreat, and we all continued on to our next activity feeling warm and fuzzy after receiving our compliments.

Emily Morgan (Easton):
Maagal Lilas are one of my favorite parts of the Shabbatons! I look forward to them every day and I know I will never be disappointed. Friday night ended with our first Maagal Lila of the weekend. The fellows sat in a circle in the lounge and Twizzlers were passed around. Then, we began to share our peaks, pits, and wishes, also known as rose, bud, and thorns. Maagal Lila’s bring us all much closer together every time. Since we had not been together at a Shabbaton in so long, we had to do a little catching up at the same time. With this one, each fellow was encouraged to share a peak, a pit, and a wish. A peak was an extremely high point in an individuals life since the last time we had all met. This was fun to share, everyone had something very positive to contribute. After the peak came the pit, a very low point in an individual‘s home and school career. The pit, though quite saddening, gave a great deal of insight into each fellows life. The wish is just as it sounds, a wish we had for our upcoming Diller experience. Many shared the same wish, to become close with the Diller teens from Haifa. This exercise was very fun, interactive, and a fantastic way to get things off of one’s chest that they wanted to share with the group. It allowed a perfect window of sharing and understanding between each fellow as well as the JCs. Saturday night’s Maagal Lila was intense. Sitting in the same place as the night before, some were not as prepared as we had thought for the night. Liana left the fellows in the capable hands of the JCs. Snapping, an action the fellows were familiar with to mean “I agree” or “Same here” was no allowed for this Maagal. It was more serious than the night before. At around 9 p.m., the Maagal commenced. There were about 15 questions, each deeper than the next. Each question could be interpreted however each fellow thought fit. The first person to start the answers moved around the circle. After almost three hours of memories, tears and laughter, the Maagal came to an end. The participants were asked to reflect on the honesty of the group. Some of the things that came to light surprised many. I, personally, was taken aback by some of my own answers. In the end, I was blown away. I had learned more about myself and my peers. This experience brought us all exponentially closer together. Though intensely emotional, it was by far the best and deepest Maagal we had ever encountered. Following the Maagal was a mess of hugs, tears, and “I love you”s. A game of lap tag brought up everyone’s spirits before going off to bed. Not one Diller fellow who was at the Maagal could disagree that it was one of the most significant experiences of their teen consciousness. Maagal Lilas are a huge part of why I am so in love with Diller and I look forward to doing many more in the months to come.