The much-anticipated JHS Girls Shabbaton began at the beautiful Bushkill Inn early Friday afternoon. Students swam in the indoor pool and participated in exciting “Pre-Shabbos ruach,” to welcome in Shabbos with singing and dancing. The energy continued throughout the evening.

During dinner, divrei Torah were given by Ilana Ismailov, Binah Baturov, and Eva Musheyev. Mi’she’nichnas Adar Marbin B’Simchah, doesn’t stop after Purim! Students then watched eighth grade students put on a hilarious skit, to continue bringing the Adar spirit to the student body.

Students then had the opportunity to hear from the absolutely incredible Mrs. Devorah Goldstein. As an infant, Mrs. Goldstein was abandoned in a train station in Taiwan and found by a Jewish American Professor, Avraham Schwartzbaum. Professor Schwartzbaum and his wife Rachel later adopted Devorah, moved back to the US, became more observant, and Devorah converted to Judaism. The remarkable story is detailed in the book ‘The Bamboo Cradle.’

Throughout the Shabbaton, Mrs. Goldstein shared her remarkable story and described her life and the struggles she faced growing up. She shared inspiring anecdotes and grabbed the attention of every single student. Her presence was one of, if not the, highlight of the Shabbaton. After students heard from Mrs. Goldstein, it was the moros’ turn to put on their own hysterical skit.

Shabbos morning kicked off with t’filah and a kiddush, and then students participated in an entertaining custom YCQ-themed game of Apples to Apples. After a delicious lunch that featured divrei Torah from Ilana Zavulun, Moria Cohen, and Rena Schwartz, more games were played with the moros, including “Jeopardy!” and “Order in the Court.”

Students had another opportunity to hear from Mrs. Goldstein before an exciting raffle. Faculty contributed individual prizes including lunch with teachers. Minchah and a meaningful s’udah sh’lishis followed, and included divrei Torah from Naomi Matatov, Mia Aranbaiev, and Aylea Moussaieff.

After Maariv and Havdalah, the ruach train was full steam ahead with a musical melaveh malkah that featured more singing and dancing. Sweatshirts were given out that will help students remember all the amazing memories they created on the Shabbaton.

Thank you to the alumni advisors for giving back to the YCQ family. Special thanks to Mr. Jacob Grossman, the Director of JHS Student Life and Activities, for all of his effort organizing the Shabbaton. A huge thank you must also be given to all the moros and administrators, and their families, whose presence truly enhanced the Shabbaton.