Young Chevra Shabbaton – Stuck in the snow?
RUNNING SPRINGS, CA [CHI] — So many chassidic stories involve the trials and travails of Jews stuck in the frigid white snow of the siberian winter. Hearing about the commitment of our brothers and sisters from an era gone by in celebrating yiddishkeit under such dire circumstances generates a deep sense of inspiration for all those that listen.
Several weeks ago fifty six young families (approx. 130 adults and 160 children) from Chabad communities across southern California created inspiring memories of their own “siberian” chassidic tale. Well, it wasn’t exactly a siberian exile, it was a weekend retreat. And while it wasn’t the siberian winter, there was “heavy” snow up at the CGI campus in the mountains at Running Springs. This was the first Annual “Young Chevra” Shabbaton and it was fantastic.
First a little background. Over the past decade, there has been a growing trend of 2nd generation Los Angelinos (and Non Los Angelinos for that matter) getting married and settling into neighborhoods and Chabad communities across Southern California. Several conversations amongst some locals led to the formation of the Young Chevra Committee. “The goal is to bring families together to share, learn, inspire and meet one another,” said Rabbi Mendel Schwartz, the Chair of the committee. Several events are being scheduled over the course of the year for all young families to participate in.
Celebrating achdus on a mountain top for a shabbos sure seemed like a great way to start. When the shabbaton participants arrived to the camp site, they were greeted by 4 inches of fresh snow, which made the huge fire in the fireplace at the Lodge even more welcoming.
Everyone enjoyed the delicious and plentiful food during the entire shabbaton thanks to Rabbi Brod and the Running Springs staff. As shabbos continued, more and more people started to appreciate how special this shabbaton was in bringing so many Lubavitch families together from so many different communities. “Los Angeles is extremely spread out and can feel isolating at times, so gatherings like these are refreshing and a great way to reconnect with friends,” commented one of the guests.
Yossi & Menucha Burston and Dovi & Malkie Gorelik coordinators of the Shabbaton, did a great job of putting the details of this event together. During the day, there were specially created childrens programs allowing the parents to Daven, go to shiurim and farbrengens. Kids played together in the game rooms and even had early evening meals followed by baby sitting.
Rabbi Avraham Zajac, Rabbi of SOLA, and Gabbai Levi Raichik of Congregation Levi Yitzchock in Hancock Park were the attending Scholars in Residence for the weekend and provided enjoyable divrei torah and stories at the farbrengens.
On Moztei Shabbos, everyone convened at the Sprung Hall despite the dense fog for a festive Melava Malka. It was wonderful to hear each person say where they were from and what type of work they do. Many of the guests were thankful for this networking exchange and the hope is that it can be a platform to help many people throughout all of Southern California. Rabbi Mendel Schwartz announced that “Young Chevra” will continue to have events throughout the year with everyone’s help and input. Furthermore, the members of the board will rotate every 18 months to allow new ideas and direction over the years.
The following day as the milky white fog lifted, the mountain views came into full focus and were spectacular. The children (and some adults) learned archery from the masters and will be ready for next Lag B’Omer. At the BBQ later that day, it was announced that a gemach will be established to help any member on a short term basis and Danny Levin, a member of Chabad of Hancock Park volunteered his time to run the Gemach program.
When this article went to print, $22,000 was raised thus far for the gemach.
As the shabbaton drew to end, new friendships were established, Hachlotos made, and networks expanded with everyone anticipating the next young lubavitch chevra event!
Thanks to the current board Members for a wonderful weekend.
Yossi & Menucha Burston / Tzvika & Rivkale Ferszt / Yitzy & Yehudis Geisinsky / Dovi & Malkie Gorelik / Baruch & Roza Greenbaum / Simcha & Chaya Esther Kagan / Menny & Hudee Lipsker / Rubie & Rivky Minkowitz / Dovid & Sara Morris / Mendel & Esther Schwartz / Yakov & Dina Shallman / Robbie & Chava Tombaski / Juda & Sara Zavdi