I’m exhausted from the non-stop high energy hormonally enhanced teen interactions from Congregation Or Ami’s Triple T (Tracks for Temple Teens) retreat at Camp Alonim in Simi Valley. With Rabbi Julia Weisz, Cantor Doug Cotler, LoMPTY advisor Stefanie Phillips, BM Teacher Diane Townsend and a slew of talented counselors (including kid’s favorite Rabbinical Student Jonathan Rothstein-Fisch and Mishpacha Coordinator Rachel Kaplan Marks), 53 teens gathered for a weekend around the theme of Beresheet/Genesis. The goal – creating community and building teen relationships – was the brainchild of Rabbi Julia, who has worked with laser focus on engaging our teens on multiple levels and in multiple ways.
I am amazed at how quickly the “I’m too cool for this” attitude melts away when we dispense with the parents and mix wacky activities, with Jewish singing and dancing, with Recreate Creation programs (recreate your day of creation using tape, Popsicle sticks and a roll of tinfoil). Shabbat dinner was delicious. Shabbat song session was wild, and Shabbat Siyum (closing circle) was mellowly musical.
I’m up and back, up and back, so that I can attend both nights but be home for two B’nai Mitzvah on Saturday and a baby naming on Sunday. But I wouldn’t miss this for the world. Where else do we get to interact with teens without any school pressure, where they can for the most part drop the teen social pressures, and where the love and warmth just flow from their very souls.
Check out the pictures and Videos on my Facebook page.