Chabad of Penn Wynne Heading to the Poconos to Understand Beauty of Shabbat

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From July 15 to 17, Chabad of Penn Wynne is hosting a summer Shabbaton in the Poconos at the Mountain Laurel Resort in White Haven.
 

While it’s the height of summer camp season in the mountains, you can’t let the kids have all the fun.
 
From July 15 to 17, Chabad of Penn Wynne is hosting a summer Shabbaton in the Poconos at the Mountain Laurel Resort in White Haven.
 
This will be the Chabad’s fourth Shabbaton experience but the first at this location, which is sure to be a relaxing and meaningful weekend.
 
“Everything we do obviously has a purpose to it or has an impact, and we’ve definitely found that, as a Shabbaton, spending that amount of time together definitely does have an impact on people,” said Rabbi Moshe Brennan.
 
He hopes people take this opportunity for a “Jewish vacation” as a chance to come together with like-minded people for a shared, enjoyable experience.
 
“The combination of everything — it’s a nice setting, good food, inspiring services, interesting classes. The parents can put their kids in the kids program and take it easy a little bit. It’s really everything together that creates the experience,” he said.
 
People come early on Friday to get the lay of the land, which will include on- and off-site ac-tivities such as swimming, archery, basketball, tennis, horseback riding and mini golf and amenities like a workout room, spa and a kids program.
 
Shabbat will gather everyone that night for dinner and services. On Saturday, the day will be filled with classes, services, meals and a more laid-back afternoon, followed by a night of games and fun, though Brennan thinks the whole weekend is time for continuous joy.
 
His favorite part: “The parts when everyone is together.”
 
“We try to create both a physical and spiritual enjoyable setting, and I think the two complement each other,” he added.
 
The Poconos also gives people options to unwind from their daily lives. 
 
“You can’t just go to a place that’s the middle of nowhere that has no other attractions,” Brennan mentioned. “When people come on Friday night, and they all talk about what they did that day and where they were — it’s trying to create an atmosphere, and doing it up there is very helpful.”
 
The weekend is open to whatever level of observance as well.
 
“It’s a great Jewish experience all around, and especially for those that are not as familiar with Shabbat as others,” Brennan said. “It’s really for everybody — there’s nobody that can’t gain from it, whether you’re an experienced Shabbat observer or don’t really understand much about it, we’ve had all types of people coming to the Shabbaton, and they all seem to love it.”
 
Last summer, they held a Shabbaton at a campsite and it rained the whole weekend. However, people loved it and still look back on it as a memorable experience. 
 
Brennan advertised this Shabbaton as, “Are you going to remember July 16, 2016? If you join us, you will,” he laughed. “It’s a memorable experience, and everyone who’s come in the past has always expressed interest.”
 
Brennan said they are expecting about 100 people, and there is still time to register by contacting him at moishe.brennan@gmail.com, but space is limited.
 
“We hope — on the most basic level — people walk away happy that they came, energized both physically and spiritually, and that they have a positive feeling toward Judaism, toward Shabbat, toward learning. 
 
“The misconception is that people view Torah and mitzvah as obligation, it’s kind of things that we need to do… When you come and you experience a Shabbaton, you realize that God created us, he had some good ideas of how we work, and you realize afterward how good you feel, how energized you are, that you start to understand the beauty of Shabbat.” 
 
Contact: rkurland@jewishexponent.com; 215-832-0737

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