HAFTR High School recently held its first-ever in-house Senior Shabbaton. The weekend kicked off on Friday, October 28, with an exciting trip to Long Island Adventure Park. Students were welcomed by friendly staff, and after we watched a short demo video, staff members helped everyone get in a harness and find their way to the course. Students spent several hours climbing on ropes courses and pushing their limits throughout the aerial treetop trails. The courses ranged in difficulty from easy to extremely challenging, allowing the students to choose the course they felt was right for them. Students climbed, zip-lined, and saw the world from the heights above. After a thrilling and tiring day, the group enjoyed delicious snacks and pizza before making their way back to school and their hosts’ homes to prepare for Shabbos.
As the sun went down, students and faculty joined together at the high school and enjoyed a beautiful davening, followed by a catered Friday night meal. Tables were set up in the auditorium, and students sat with principals, rebbeim, moros, and their families. It was a special and unique opportunity to get to know each other in a deeper way and spend quality time together. The dinner was filled with spirited ruach and interesting divrei Torah. After dinner, students were split into groups and took part in shiurim with various teachers, where they discussed the Shabbaton’s theme: building your own teivah, meaning ways to create your own future. When the shiur ended, everyone participated in student-planned activities and games, such as pairing up to play “who is most likely to,” followed by a meaningful kumsitz. At around ten in the evening, the students were dismissed and walked together to their hosts’ homes.
The next morning began with davening and an elaborate kiddush of cookies, cake, fruit, coffee, and more. The afternoon progressed with additional shiurim, where students continued learning about the theme of the Shabbaton. Seniors and their teachers discussed how they can build their own teivah and create the life they want once they graduate from high school. After enjoying the shiurim, students had a delicious lunch followed by more student-planned activities. Each shiur and activity gave students the chance to get to know more about their teachers, friends, and themselves. Amid the hecticness of preparing for yeshivah and college applications, this was a refreshing and memorable opportunity to grow and deepen relationships.
The first-ever Senior Shabbaton was a huge hit. Everyone had an incredible time, bonding with friends, rebbeim, and moros, finding new ways to plan for the future, and connecting to Hashem. Hopefully, the Senior Class of 2023 started what will become a new HAFTR senior tradition.
By Lauren Monderer, HAFTR 2022