YSZ High School for Girls took their Shabbat experience to a new level. Accompanied by teachers and friends, they created a Shabbat that would be hard to forget. “It was magical,” one student shared. “My friends and I got to hang out and spend real quality time together. Our phones were away, and we were all just very present.”

Mrs. Rina Zeriyker, menahelet, observed, “There is nothing like a Shabbat to bring people together and encourage genuine conversation, real seeds of growth.” The transformation from the start to the end of Shabbat was akin to a metamorphosis of a butterfly, working to internalize a concept all Shabbat and then witnessing a breakthrough on Motzaei Shabbat in how the students related to the theme.

“B’chol libi dirashticha,” with all of my heart I seek You out Hashem, was the central theme of the Shabbaton. The trope was portrayed and felt through the numerous sessions and workshops given by faculty members over Shabbat. A special table discussion was prepared for every seudat Shabbat, where students shared their positive experiences with each other. “It was an opportunity to learn from one another and notice positive characteristics in others that we knew about prior but are now able to pinpoint,” shared Ms. Greenberg, who joined the girls for Shabbat.

The positive ruach was incredible!” gushed another talmidah. Sophomore Naomi Mordukhaev shared, “The Shabbaton was spiritually uplifting. I literally had a glow of kedushah following Shabbat.” Student Leah Pleashty explained, “Our midwinter Shabbaton was a great learning experience. One of the many highlights was the heartwarming singing. The vibe of us uniting musically inspired me to want to repeat the occurrence.”

On Motzaei Shabbat, the students enjoyed the pool, crafted a handmade stunning project with resin, and were joined by additional faculty members. The climax of the evening was undoubtedly Rabbi Mordechai Benhaim’s workshop, where students were riveted by an hour-long perspective followed by a Q and A session. Tzipy Kaimov, a student, immensely appreciated the symposium, stating, “We had the opportunity to talk about ideas, halachot, and life with Rabbi Benhaim.”

“Shabbat was incredibly spiritual,” expressed student Hodaya Yaacobov. “I felt Hashem’s presence with us.” Leah Zavlyanov conveyed, “I am tremendously grateful for the amount of tireless work of the devoted staff making certain that every detail was properly handled. Having more of our teachers join the program on Motza’ei Shabbat was very special!”

The talmidot walked away from the Shabbaton with a boost of confidence and deeper understanding of their relationship with Hashem and one another. Naomi, a freshman, pointed out, “Spending time with friends in a spiritually uplifting environment was interesting and informative.” The students explored their inner workings and learned how to zero in on their personal goals. There is nothing quite like a Shabbaton to successfully transform, uplift and inspire. Ms. Biyaminov participated in the complete Shabbaton and succinctly summed up the occasion, “Shabbat was amazing; just incredible.”