It would be an understatement to say that SKAbatton 2022 was a blast! The school-wide Shabbaton of the Stella K. Abraham High School for Girls took place on Friday, November 18, with an unforgettable Shabbos followed by GVG (grade vs. grade) on Motza’ei Shabbos and concluded on Sunday, November 20. SKA’s Seniors, Juniors, Sophomores, faculty, and staff were a perfect combination for an amazing time to be had by all!
Excitement buzzed through the halls as everyone arrived and was welcomed at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel located in New Jersey. Everyone joined for lunch in the ballroom, followed by Minchah and one last GVG practice. It was time to begin preparation for Shabbos. Pictures taken and candles lit, we welcomed Shabbos with a beautiful Kabbalas Shabbos. The Friday night seudah was accompanied by gorgeous z’miros and an inspiring d’var Torah from 11th grader Shira Yehoshua. Afterwards, each grade had a Shabbos oneg with tons of delicious nosh and kugel; it was a perfect time for each grade to individually bond with one another, as the oneg was filled with laughter and loads of fun. Later that evening, Rabbi Rice gave an optional uplifting shiur, ending off the night with much to reflect upon. After an amazing start to Shabbos, everyone headed to get a good night’s sleep in order to have energy for what was to come the next day.
Over the course of Friday night and Shabbos afternoon, the grades were given the privilege of hearing from our guest speaker, Mrs. Chana Grove, who gave us so much to learn from her life story, filled with difficult experiences and the choices she made. There was also a Round Robin, where students could hear from teachers and view skits by the Seniors. All these talks and performances related to the theme of the SKAbbaton – “Choices” – and incorporated all different ways to gain from and further understand the choices we make.
Shabbos morning began with beautiful t’filos and the opportunity to attend an optional explanatory minyan, as well. After another delicious lunch and beautiful z’miros, we heard an outstanding d’var Torah from tenth grader Liat Branspiegel. Following lunch, students were able to attend an Ask the Rabbi panel, learn b’chavrusa with various teachers and madrichos, or enjoy Shabbos by simply relaxing. Everyone rejoined one last time to enjoy the last moments of Shabbos with seudah sh’lishis and a special d’var Torah from 12th grader Adina Karasick, as well as hearing impactful words from Rabbi Diamond. To conclude Shabbos on a high note, we had a musical Havdalah, filled with singing and dancing.
On Motza’ei Shabbos, pink, blue, and yellow filled the room as GVG (grade vs. grade) began. Students cheered, sang, and danced! Ms. Fogel was the best MC that one could ask for. The night continued with each grade presenting their dances, songs, and videos. With the help of all the outstanding heads, all were so well done. There were also a few really exciting surprises! The Class of 2022 made a video and sent it all the way from Israel. We also had a special madrichah dance presentation to the SKA song that they had created. And Mrs. Leibtag had an amazing time presenting a dance both she and everyone loves. Mazal Tov to the Seniors for winning GVG! Everyone had the time of their lives, and the night continued on with much dancing, singing, and a beautiful, uplifting kumsitz. Surely exhausted by the fun of the weekend, the students had a great night’s sleep and then headed back home the next morning.
The SKAbbaton was just the right balance of spirituality and fun! Of course, none of this would be possible without Mrs. Kaminetsky, Mrs. Drebin, Rabbi Zakutinsky, Mrs. Storch, Mrs. Englander, our wonderful GLAs, faculty members, and madrichos – and our outstanding Student Council members.
We are already looking forward to and marking our calendars for SKAbatton 2023, im yirtzeh Hashem, in Yerushalayim!
By Avigail Nassir, SKA ’24