By: Rafi Setnik | Rosh Zach, Cleveland
Over this past Shabbat, the 7th and 8th graders shared an amazing experience on the annual Zach Shabbaton, this year hosted in Detroit Michigan. After a long and exciting bus ride, the chanichim arrived at the Young Israel of Oak Park and were greeted with refreshing cherry and lemon slushies. As soon as everyone arrived from Pittsburgh, Chicago, and Detroit, we departed for our hosts homes to relax and prepare for Mifkad and the incredible Shabbat that awaited us. We then returned to shul for our first Mifkad of the shabbaton which raised the spirits of the chanichim and set the tone for the rest of the shabbaton. Together with the shul’s congregation, we davened mincha then sang to Hashem in an inspiring kabbalat shabbat and maariv. After davening, it was time for the first Shabbat meal which featured singing and dancing with the Bogrim and Roshim, not to mention the region-renowned pasta with tomato sauce. The first peula, led by Lev Ershler of Detroit, began shortly after, and was followed by a wrap-up story told by Cleveland’s Raphael Setnik. Then, it was time for an oneg and eventually Laylah Tov. The next morning, davening was followed by a kiddush and the second peula, led by a Boger from Detroit, Alex Fischer. This peula brought into question what tense situations the chanichim and madrichim would step into or step away from. We then ate lunch and dessert, davened mincha, and went back to our host’s homes for menucha.
After a 2 hour break, everyone made their way back to the shul for Seudat Shlishit and a powerful Slow Shira featuring inspiring words from the Rabbi of the Young Israel of Oak Park. Immediately after maariv, we made our way back to our hosts homes to change for the exciting night ahead. As soon as everyone returned to the shul, we set off on our bus ride to “Airtime”. If you’re from Cleveland, that is the Detroit equivalent of Sky Zone Trampoline Park. After exhausting ourselves from dodgeball, trampoline basketball, and diving into the Mosh Pit, we noshed on Jerusalem Pizza then made our way back to our hosts homes for Laylah Tov. The next morning, we davened Shacharit, said our goodbyes, then began our departure back to Cleveland. The Cleveland bus was lucky and got to stop at the Kosher Dunkin Donuts to drink lattes and eat donuts and croissants. Zach Shabbaton was an uplifting experience that no doubt brought both the Chanichim and Madrichim closer to messages of Bnei Akiva. Everyone had an amazing experience and we will all miss the incredible time we shared.