The Central family began the week with a high after a phenomenally successful school-wide Shabbaton! In record-breaking numbers, students, faculty, and their families spent Shabbat Parshat Toldot together at the DoubleTree Tarrytown Hilton for a weekend of Torah, fun, and Central spirit. The program kicked off in school on Friday morning with the first of our three learning sessions, centered around the theme “Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose,” inspired by the popular television series Friday Night Lights. Students and teachers discussed the roles of open-mindedness and intention in order to achieve goals. The “Clear Eyes” session on Friday morning was interactive, discussion-based, and thought-provoking. The seniors led the session with enthusiasm, infusing meaning into each component of the session. Students considered their personal insecurities and discussed how to rid them from our minds in order to “clear our eyes” for success.
We welcomed in Shabbat with inspiring and musical communal tefillot and words of Torah from Head of School CB Neugroschl. Students joined faculty families for dinner, seizing the opportunity to get to know their teachers in a new context. Benching was followed by a beautiful performance from our choir, and then the faculty enjoyed showing their more theatrical flairs in a shpiel about life at Central. Our brave faculty members continued to be in the spotlight during a special rendition of musical chairs. The Friday night activities highlighted that the spirit and warmth of our faculty is second to none! After the skit, our session series continued on the topic of “Full Hearts.” This session, run by our faculty, focused on the meaning of “B’chol Levavkha,” living life with a full heart. The faculty engaged the students in meaningful discussions about Avraham Avinu, Rabbi Akiva, and many modern day “heroes.” The session opened and closed with a personal interactive activity during which students considered how mundane actions and mitzvot can be completed with a fuller heart. The annual Senior Panel proved yet once again how unique our faculty is, as they shared personal stories from their lives and answered seniors’ questions about themselves and about the road our students have ahead of them.
The ruach continued on Shabbat day with a lively davening and an even livelier Seudat Shabbat. Meals were replete with cheering and laughter. The third and final session, centered around “’Can’t Lose,” was a “Choose Your Own” session, for which faculty members shared their personal stories about times when they could have “lost” but learned lessons from their experiences instead. After a much-needed menucha, everyone came back together for Seudat Shlishit and an inspiring kumzitz.
After Maariv and Havdalah, everyone scurried back to their rooms to prepare for the Melave Malka…and a fantastically energetic concert by Mordechai Shapiro! Each grade came outfitted in accordance with a wacky theme: Freshmen were “Fresh” out of Middle School, attired in their respective middle-school gear; the Sophomore Soldiers looks great in camouflage; the Ju-nerds rocked suspenders and knee socks; and the Sporty Seniors showed off their jerseys. The Flashy Faculty looked great in neon as well! Said Director of Student Life Shani Malitzky, “The Melave Malka concert with Mordechai Shapiro was non-stop energy and excitement. The ruach was palpable. Watching our students and faculty sing and dance together at the culmination of a beautiful, meaningful Shabbat struck me with the strength and spirit of our Central Community.”
A scrumptious gala breakfast on Sunday morning provided the perfect end to a wonderful Shabbaton. Says Student Activities Coordinator Leah Moskovich: “I left this year’s Shabbaton inspired and motivated to clear my eyes, regain my passion, and push myself to succeed in my goals. Hearing my students open up about their own struggles, dreams, and aspirations enriched each session, Shabbos table discussion, and Shabbos schmooze. We ended the Shabbaton by writing down our new goals, making a time to check in with ourselves to make sure we are succeeding, and to turn to our Central friends and teachers for help and guidance in order to succeed in our goals. We all left on a high — with clear eyes, full hearts, and a big win.”
According to Mrs. CB Neugroschl, the Shabbaton proved how special Central is: “Our theme this past Shabbat was “Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose!” This idea was explored throughout Shabbat as we discussed the truly important things in life, setting positive goals and striving to reach our poten tial. The emphasis was on what a special community Central is and how important it is to support each other as we each keep growing towards our potential.”