Shabbatons return for the 2021-2022 school year


Amelia Rich

Class of 2023 at their first Shabbaton in fall of 2020.

Eitan Malkus, Arts and Entertainment Editor

Shabbatons will be returning this year after a two year hiatus due to the pandemic. The freshman class will be attending their Shabbaton in early November and the senior class will be going in December. The sophomores and juniors will have their Shabbatons during the second semester. The Shabbatons will be held at their usual location: Capital Camps in southern Pennsylvania, about an hour drive from school. 

At the beginning of the year, math teacher Tori Ball took on the role of Assistant Dean, which includes supervision of Shabbatons. She has been working hard to plan around the COVID-19 restrictions in place. “Some things are more complicated this year, in terms of finding COVID-safe, fun things for [the classes] to do,” Ball said. 

Ball said she plans to have most activities outside if possible, including Shabbat services and bonding activities. She also plans to continue the practice of having a special grade activity after Shabbatons, even with COVID-19 restrictions. 

“Instead of just going to a bowling alley where there are other people,” Ball said, “We rented out a bowling alley for the 9th grade themselves so that we would be the only patrons there, just to be a little safer.”

COVID-19 restrictions on Shabbatons are expected to be very similar to those at school. When in public indoor locations, everyone should be wearing masks, but they are not required outside. For bunking, administrators have decided that they are capping bunks at 10 people each to ensure that when masks cannot be worn, the potential for the spread of COVID-19 is very low. 

“My guess is that for the 9th grade and 12th grade we will have to be a little stricter with regard to COVID restrictions, and hopefully by the spring, it will be a little different [when the juniors and sophomores go], ” Dean of Students Roz Landy said. 

Despite some COVID-19 changes, students are excited to take part in one of the most anticipated activities of the school year. 

“I’m super excited to spend time with my friends and hang out with people that I sometimes don’t get the chance to hang out with on a regular basis,” sophomore Devorah Freeman said. 

Landy hopes that after a long and hard year without much grade bonding, the Shabbatons can be a way for students to get closer as a grade and enjoy time together outside of a school setting. 

The administration expects most of the students to come on Shabbatons despite COVID-19 concerns. Out of 90 freshmen, at least 60 are expected to attend the upcoming Shabbaton. 

In addition to students, the teachers are especially excited for Shabbatons this coming year. 

“It was hard to have the same type of community experiences last year,” Ball said, “So I’m really excited that we get to experience that again starting this year.”