It wouldn’t be sufficient to say that SKA’s SKAbbaton 2021 was a blast. During the Shabbos of November 5-6, SKA’s Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors were taken on the most spectacular Shabbaton they could imagine. (The Freshmen had their own retreat.)

Staying in the beautiful Hilton Parsippany in New Jersey, the SKA students got to experience Shabbos all together, something that they haven’t been able to do for such a long time. When everyone first arrived, they were treated to a delicious lunch followed by GVG (grade vs. grade) practice. The students then had plenty of time for Shabbos prep and of course for pre-Shabbos pictures! They welcomed Shabbos with an uplifting Kabalas Shabbos followed by the Friday night s’udah which was accompanied by gorgeous z’miros.

Over the course of Friday night and Shabbos morning, the grades were given the incredible opportunity to listen to the fascinating story that Mrs. Smith of New Square told about her difficult experiences and her emunah through it all. There was also a round-robin that gave students the privilege to hear from their favorite teachers, along with viewing skits presented by the Seniors. All these performances related to the theme of the SKAbbaton: Hakaras HaTov.

After another delicious meal, there were many options given to the students during m’nuchah. Students were able to learn b’chavrusa with our beis midrash fellows or to hear shiurim by rabbis and teachers alike.

The musical Havdalah ended Shabbos on a beautiful note. Everyone then rushed to their rooms to start prepping for what was about to come – GVG! The Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors decked themselves out in green, blue, and purple respectively. Once all dressed up, GVG was ready to begin!

Students cheered, sang, and danced with tons of ruach. Ms. Fogel was the best MC that one could ask for. The night continued with each grade presenting their dances and videos. They were all amazing! In the middle of the presentations, there was a super exciting surprise: The Class of 2021 made a video all the way from Israel, wishing the current students an amazing SKAbbaton! The winner of GVG was then announced: Mazal Tov to the Sophomores for winning the first GVG that they have ever attended. Surely exhausted by the fun of the weekend, the students had a great night’s sleep and then sadly left in the morning.

Thank you to Rabbi Zak, Mrs. Storch, the Student Council, and all the teachers who helped make this weekend happen! We can’t wait for SKAbbaton 2022, im yirtzeh Hashem, next year in Yerushalayim!

By Rosie Ash SKA ’23
and Arielle Rosman SKA ’23