Every year, (401)j holds a Shabbaton at Camp JORI, in Wakefield. For the past two years, I have had the privilege of attending not only as a member of the Rhode Island Jewish community, but as a (401)j board member.
Shabbat is a time for relaxation, contemplation and restoration. I will be the first to admit that I am not the best at disconnecting from our fast-paced world filled with beeps, vibrations, chirps and Netflix. However, helping to organize and run Shabbaton provides an opportunity for me to disconnect – and help others to do the same.
(401)j is a popular social group for Jews in their early 20s to mid-40s, and Shabbaton is just one of many programs the group holds every year. This year, Shabbaton will be held Aug. 25-27.
For me, experiencing Shabbat services by the water at Camp JORI is a transcendent experience. As a kid, I attended a few Jewish sleepover camps, one of which held Shabbat services by the side of a lake. I still remember how peaceful it felt, especially during the moments of silence.
I’m amazed that years later, I am still able to have the same experience, but through a different lens. Being around friends and other members of the Jewish community who I’ve gotten to know since moving here from Toronto three years ago makes me feel more connected to something larger, and that I’m culturally and religiously connected to Rhode Island.
Shabbaton is a wonderful opportunity to connect more deeply to Judaism in whatever way best suits you. It provides a space to reconnect with old friends, make new ones, and relax and take a break from our hectic lives.
While there are plenty of activities at Shabbaton to keep you busy from sunup to sundown, you always have the option to go off on your own for some personal, private time, something many of us rarely get to do.
I encourage everyone to attend – and I look forward to connecting and relaxing with you.
For more information on (401)j, go to www.jewishallianceri.org/jewish-life/401j. To register for Shabbaton, go to www.jewishallianceri.org/shabbaton-2017-registration. The cost is $45 per person, which includes lodging, food, drinks and all activities.
MATTHEW FLEISCHMANN is a (401)j board member.