There is nothing quite like the annual All-School Shabbaton. Looking in, you can’t comprehend it and looking out, you can’t describe it. Camp with your entire high school including faculty and their families.
3 nights / 4 days Sleeping in cabins
Arts / Sports / Camp Fires / Hiking / Community Shabbat / Singing / Talent Show
Set amidst the rolling hills of Simi Valley at the Brandeis-Bardin campus of American Jewish University (site of Camp Alonim), the annual All-School Shabbaton unfolds every spring. All 400 students, faculty, and most of the staff pack-up and move to our offsite residential community complete with artistic and intellectual programs, a joyful Shabbat, time for athletics, and space for just “hanging out” with schoolmates, faculty and their families, administrators, and alumni serving as counselors.
Our Shabbaton is the “moment” when grade level distinctions fall away and NCJHS truly becomes one vibrant community enterprise. Students and teachers have time to shmooz, share meals together, discuss life, and share common experiences at our stunning Havdalah service at the end of Shabbat or our superb campfire program where students and faculty display their multiple talents.
Our Shabbaton is the foundation stone of physical and emotional well-being for our students, a foundation that is reflected daily in the lives of students on campus throughout the year. Upon this foundation, students are better equipped to handle our rigorous NCJHS academic program. Their sense of physical and emotional well-being, their sense of formal and informal relationship with each other and with their teachers, create a healthy psychological and intellectual context in which they are now free to excel in academics, arts, athletics, and leadership. Simply put: students who are emotionally strong learn better and achieve higher results.
The Shabbaton also provides a venue for students to develop life skills of living together (dorm style in preparation for college), cleaning their tables after every meal, and interacting with people on multiple levels, in various contexts, and on varying degrees of “24/7″ emotional complexity (good for business, marriage, or just life in general).
The length, depth of program, and overall vision of the New Community Jewish High School Shabbaton is unique to our community. It is, to a large degree, the manifestation of who we are as a school and how we envision the development of a system for strong values education.
And not surprisingly, our Shabbaton has become the cornerstone of a high level academic environment. It forms part of the bedrock upon which our children find their emotional strength for success in the “real” world.
In keeping with NCJHS tradition, the seniors literally and figuratively passed the torch of leadership to the juniors at an emotional ceremony during Havdalah. The talent show and campfire in the outdoor amphitheatre creates a jubilant ambiance for the nearly 500 member NCJHS community. Talented students, teachers, and alumni entertain all with their singing, comedy, and musical prowess.
“While watching my candle’s embers flicker and listening to the enchanting songs my friends performed, I couldn’t help but to realize that I’ve taken some of this for granted until this moment. I hadn’t entirely taken the time to understand the significance of having five hundred students, faculty, and families together for one cheerful and memorable weekend. I didn’t fully appreciate the fact that sitting under a tree with your science teacher and talking about life isn’t normal for most high school students. New Jew doesn’t solely educate its students on how to flourish in the realm of academics. It directly inspires the traits that Rabbis have discussed for hundreds of years, the traits that truly make for a successful person both inside and outside of the classroom.” -senior
The Shabbaton is indeed the “culture-making moment” of NCJHS where school values, students, faculty and staff meld into one powerful, almost inexplicable entity. It is an experience that touches one’s soul, inspires student thinking, and provides unique opportunities for students, teachers, and their families to bond and for students to develop life skills. For many, it’s a transformational experience!