The Dovid Oved Retreat Center in Running Springs, nestled in the forest of the San Bernardino Mountains, proved to be the perfect location for the Valley Torah Girls School Shabbaton. Nature, spirituality and friendship came together to produce a memorable and enriching experience for all.
The Shabbaton was held over the December 4th weekend when the high school students relocated to a large cabin in the middle of this pristine nature spot filled with pine trees and starry skies. There, they had an opportunity to connect, learn and be inspired. It was cold outside, but there was excellent food and warmth inside.
Rachel Factor, a well-known Jewish lecturer and performer, joined the Shabbaton after flying to Los Angeles from Israel. She shared her spiritual journey from Broadway to Judaism and the girls were intrigued by her story and spellbound by her post Shabbat performance.
All through the weekend, Factor spoke with the students about the changes in her life which happened when she met her husband and converted and became religious.
Elinor Shalom is a 9th Grade student who attended the Shabbaton. She said, “I danced so much and we were all in high spirits but all through the weekend we enjoyed listening to Rachel Factor. She was mesmerizing. I loved her. She was so interesting and her music is great. There must have been 60 of us or more and we became close with everyone and also with the teachers who came along. At one point we went outside and the clouds parted and it was completely silent but the stars were so bright. It was a memorable weekend.”