On June 3-5, 2016, about 40 members of the extended B’nai Emunah and B3 School communities joined ‘in the wilderness’ for our annual Camping Shabbaton. The group descended upon Del Valle Regional Park in Livermore, this year at the Wild Turkey Group Site, and set up camp among the trees on a blistering afternoon. The evening brought cooler weather and a communal meal of veggie chili, challah, salad and desserts after candles, kiddush, and Hamotzi. The evening sky was blazing with stars and those who didn’t conk out early talked into the night.
The next day was a bit cooler and after breakfast, Rabbi Mark led Shabbat morning songs and Torah adventure. Following lunch, most campers chose to beat the heat by traipsing a short distance to swim in the lake. All were refreshed enough to participate in the Seuda Shlisheit, or Third Meal, accompanied by a learning session led by Rabbi David Lavine regarding the Torah’s commandments and the potential consequences of not following them. Needless to say, this generated quite a discussion. Just then, a spectacular meal was ready: grilled salmon and veggie dogs, grilled corn on the cob and zucchini, salad and roasted potatoes. As the stars came out, Havdallah signaled the end of Shabbat and, of course, a campfire and smores! As the children trundled off to bed, a large group of adults enjoyed time around the campfire until the wee hours.
Bright and early Sunday, campers gathered for bagels, cream cheese and lox, and began decamping. Mark gathered all to a Closing Circle, where each shared his or her best experiences of the weekend. Some of the hardy campers then went on a hike, which included fording a stream. And before anyone could believe it, the campsite was packed up with no trace that another lovely Shabbaton had come and gone.
As the campers waved good-bye, a wild turkey gobbled by. See you next year!