One of the annual highlights of the Valley Torah Boys High School is the Fall Shabbaton. This year, Valley Torah decided to host the annual trip at the Dovid Oved Retreat Center in Running Springs, California. Excitement and ruach were plentiful as more than 100 students arrived on Friday afternoon for an unforgettable weekend.
Rabbi Semmel led a team of nine seniors on Thursday night to prepare the campsite for the festivities. For many, it was their first visit to the beautiful 80-acre Running Springs campus which provided comfortable campus bunks, a dining room situated in a large, spacious tent and a beautiful Beis Midrash.
Once students settled into their bunks, games of soccer, basketball, football and tennis broke out. The highlight of Friday afternoon was Bubble Soccer – a strange, yet exciting combination of hamster balls and soccer! Following Bubble Soccer, students were left to prepare for Shabbos. Dinner was in the Cheder Ochel with singing and dancing that went on into the night. Finally, there was a Divrei Torah led by Rabbi Felt and Jonathan Kiaei.
On Shabbat, Rabbi Stulberger led the Numbers Game, and later there was a Divrei Torah led by Rabbi Stulberger and Yoni Zisblatt. There was also an impromptu kumzitz led by Rabbi Samuels and Max Engel. The duo picked out key zemiros that truly promoted a sense of unity amongst the students. Shabbos concluded with an amazing Havdallah led by Rabbi Davidowitz´s vocals and Rabbi Samuels´ guitar playing. Then on Saturday night there was a highly competitive game of glow in the dark capture-the-flag won by the sophomores and juniors.
The shabbaton was truly remarkable. Student Council President Jonathan Kiaei enthused, ¨Rabbi Semmel is the man. He orchestrated the whole shabbaton; there was literally no aspect of it that he did not have a hand in.¨ Rabbi Semmel was also pleased with the outcome and noted, ¨Each of the 100-plus shabbaton participants contributed a unique flavor, creating an unforgettable weekend.¨