On June 1-3, nearly 40 DJJ leaders gathered at Camp Tavor for a leadership Shabbaton - a weekend of relationship-building and training. The experience left us rested, re-charged, and re-committed to our work for racial and economic justice. Read Emma Wine's reflection on the experience below!
As June 1st approached, my schedule was becoming busier and busier. Work was piling up and I was beginning to wonder if I had made the right choice in committing to a weekend of disconnecting and community building. When my carpool of four drove down the tree-covered driveway, and I stepped out of the car and felt the breath of fresh air, saw the sparkling lake, and heard the soft breeze in the trees, I began to realize this might be just what I need.
After a dinner of reconnecting and beautiful services, we began Shabbat with a L’dor Vador, generation to generation, program in which the most experienced members of our community shared their knowledge. As we soaked in each other’s wisdom, we were reminded of the unique strengths our intergenerational community has.
I began Saturday by soaking in the bright sun, balanced by a soft breeze, while greeting the morning with yoga, then grounded myself with Torah study and morning service.
This grounding proved necessary as Saturday was filled with many important, but challenging, conversations. As I joined others in wrestling with massive topics like capitalism and gentrification, one part of the DJJ Brit (the “covenant” which guides our communication practices) sticky-noted to the wall was certainly well practiced - accept non-closure. While I left these conversations feeling more informed and aware, I was reminded that these topics are too massive to fix everything in one hour. I made a pact to continue these important conversations after the weekend was over.
At lunch, we met our mishpachot - our “families” for the Shabbaton. As we ate delicious black bean burgers, we learned about the Jewish figure our family was named after, and shared our hopes and angsts.
Lunch was followed with more learning, talking, and visioning, which was balanced with art-making, swimming, and talent show preparation.
After dinner, a State of the Union reminded me how incredibly this organization has blossomed in a few short years, and led me to envision what five more years may hold. Havdalah outside was incredibly rejuvenating, and followed by a talent show in which, among many talents, the great comedic abilities of our leaders were showcased. As my own chortles added to the chorus of laughter, I looked around. Although it was getting dark and I couldn’t see the faces of many people, I could feel the strength of the community. It had been a long day of important, but hard conversations, and as Shabbat came to a close, I knew this was a community I could stretch with, sing with, laugh with, and fight with.
At Right: Emma & DJJ leaders Seth, Dan K. and Dylan in a Shabbaton training
On Sunday, we began looking forward: how are we going to keep this community strong, and growing? How do we amp up our impact? We set goals to connect, donate, and hold each other accountable.
As I got in the car that afternoon, I was exhausted. But at the same time, I felt a new energy: an excitement for what the future holds, a reconnection to my roots and tradition, and a reminder of how incredibly lucky I feel to be a part of this community of unique and extraordinary individuals.
Emma Wine will be a junior at The Roeper School in the fall. She is an active member of DJJ's Water Campaign team and has been a DJJ leader since middle school. She enjoys spending time with family, learning, and trying new things!