Synagogue Shabbaton

September 23-25, 2016

Save the Date!! The congregational retreat is a time for us to bond as a community through prayer, music, learning, lots of play and great food.  A congregational retreat is a huge undertaking.  If you are interested in participating next fall, please email RaeAnn Brechner.  Please also let us know if you are happy with the rustic ambiance of Camp Miriam or if you would prefer a different venue.

Words about the Sukkot Retreat

byNomi Kaston

To arrive at Camp Miriam on Gabriola Island is to arrive at a lively, spirited serenity among trees and rocks, overlooking the sea. This was my first encounter with Camp Miriam, and although camp was over for the summer and we were there for a Sukkot Retreat of families, through Victoria’s Congregation Emanu-El, the voices of the summer camp’s children were there everywhere, echoing happy times and a celebration of Jewish identity.

First, we shared in the building of a sukkah, perched high over the sea. Then, as more families arrived, we gathered for a hike along the seaside, where seals bobbed in the waves. Back to camp for Shabbat candles, blessings, a hot meal in the sukkah, and a spirited Kabbalat Shabbat service filled with singing, dancing and the music of harp and guitar.
Off to sleep in cabins or tents, and to wake up to a shared breakfast and Shabbat services, featuring Rabbi Harry’s wondrous simultaneous Hebrew Torah reading and chanted explanation in English, a magnificent way for participants of all ages to encounter and relate to the Torah reading. Three tiny boys stood at the child-height table where the Torah was opened out, chins resting on little hands as they followed along, like little old men in the shtetl. With Rabbi Harry’s masterfully chanted storytelling, we could see the children of Israel despairing as Moses left them, gathering to build and to worship the Golden Calf. The cadence of the original Hebrew words and the clarity of the inter-lineal translation brought the narrative to life for all of us. The folly of this slip up in our people’s history came all the more clear with Rabbi Harry’s personal mantra, Ayn Od Milvado, “There is None Other Than God”.
  This, along with yogic breathing exercises and singing, fulfilled Rabbi’s Harry’s promise to stretch our comfort zones regarding ritual and prayer. There was just enough of the comforting, expected service, to bring continuity.  Congregation Emanu-El, with roots, and with wings.
    Uri Levi gave a fascinating lesson in Talmud, bringing to mind the morning’s blessings, which we had said in groups of two, one saying each blessing, and the other responding Amen.  My partner Beatrice and I were moved at the synergy between praising God who makes us free and praising God who guides us. The idea of being at the same time guided and free came clear when we saw, with Uri, that despite all the guidance that Torah gives, the Talmudists pondered and argued for years on each small detail of the interpretation of the law. Our people is guided by Torah, and at the same time laden with an enormous responsibility of freedom to interpret, re-understand, and adapt the Law from situation to situation, generation to generation.
   Aside from the organized events at this Sukkot Retreat, rich conversations sprung up around the dinner tables, and on the Shabbat walks along wooded roads to beautiful seaside beaches.
 Our Shabbat ended with a dreamy Havdalah around a crackling campfire, the fire’s song joining in with our singing. Leah Levi, a mother to all of us throughout the retreat, had us cross hands and sway in one circle, singing the Camp Miriam sleeptime song.
  For the little children who are not yet old enough for summer camp, and for the older folk who are decades past the camping years, this was a wondrous adventure in communal singing, learning, praying, and sharing together in the the joy of Sukkot. To all who orchestrated this year’s Sukkot Retreat, may you grow in strength and joy!!

Sukkot Retreat at Camp Miriam

Friday, October 2 to Sunday, October 4

You are invited to join us in celebrating Shabbat and Sukkot in a family friendly, community environment, complete with our own sukkah.  Rabbi Harry will lead us in a fun, thoughtful program meant for anyone who wants to come.  Below is information about registration, logistics, cost, and a basic explanation of how the retreat will work.

Camp Miriam is located on Gabriola Island, off Nanaimo.  The camp is across the road from a typical gorgeous Gulf Island beach and down the road from beautiful sandy beaches.

The program:

  • Friday, Oct 2
    • 3:45pm – ferry from Nanaimo to Gabriola Island
    • 5:00pm – official start with walk to the “Point”
    • 6:15pm – candle lighting and dinner back at camp;
    • then Kabbalat Shabbat  
  • Saturday, Oct 3
    • A mix of learning, singing, playing, and sharing during the day
    • Havdallah and a “sharing of talents”;
    • weather permitting: a campfire
  • Sunday, Oct 4
    • 11:00 am approximately – end of program
    • The art galleries on Gabriola are often open on Sundays – a wonderful outing after the retreat.

Costs for the weekend are as follows:

  • Adult: $ 75
  • Child (12 and under): $40 first child ($20 for each additional child)
  • $40 for Adults staying off-site.

The fee covers accommodation and food for Friday night dinner, breakfasts, hot drinks and snacks.  We will be depending on volunteer participants for food preparation and paid help with cleanup.

In addition, each family should bring:

  • Two vegetarian/dairy main course dishes.  One should be a hot dish (e.g. Casserole) and the other a cold dish (e.g. Bean salad, humus, dolmades).
  • One dessert which feeds 6 – 8 people each.
  • Please be sure to label your dishes with your name and all ingredients.
  • Accommodations: Camp Miriam has winterized cabins with bunk beds; families will be bunking together.  Bathrooms with flush toilets and showers are communal.
  • Alternative Accommodations:  Some of us are not up to the full-on camp experience and have already booked our alternatives, e.g. at the 3-star Surf Lodge, a three minute walk from the camp or B&Bs.  

What to bring:

  • sleeping bags, pillows, towels, warm clothing, rain gear
  • kippot, candle sticks, candles, talit
  • any personal medications
  • flashlights; baby monitors for young kids
  • songbooks/ideas for talent sharing/musical instruments
  • a piece of Judaica or heritage item which has meaning for your family

REGISTRATION WILL BE OPEN UNTIL WEDNESDAY, Sept 30TH.
PLEASE Fill out this form and deliver to the office.
If you have any questions, please email, or call the office 250 382-0675

Sukkot Retreat at Camp Miriam, Oct 10–12

image

You are invited to join us in celebrating Shabbat and Sukkot in a family-friendly, community environment, complete with our own sukkah.  Rabbi Harry will lead us in a fun, thoughtful program meant for anyone who wants to come.  Below is information about registration, logistics, cost, and a basic explanation of how the retreat will work.

Camp Miriam is located on Gabriola Island, off Nanaimo.  The camp is across the road from a typical gorgeous Gulf Island beach and down the road from beautiful sandy beaches.

The program:

Friday, Oct 10

  • 3:50pm – ferry from Nanaimo to Gabriola Island
  • 5:00pm – official start with walk to the “Point” for Kabbalat Shabbat;
  • 6:15pm – candle lighting and dinner back at camp; evening program with flashlights! 

Saturday, Oct 11

  • A mix of learning, singing, playing, and sharing during the day
  • Havdallah and a “sharing of talents”; weather permitting: a campfire

Sunday, Oct 12

  • 11:00 am approximately – end of program

The art galleries on Gabriola are open all of Thanksgiving Weekend – a wonderful outing after the retreat. 

Costs for the weekend are as follows:

  • Adult: $60
  • Child (12 and under): $40 first child
  • ($20 for each additional child)

The fee covers accommodation and food for Friday night dinner, breakfasts, hot drinks and snacks.  We will be depending on volunteer participants for food preparation and cleanup. 

In addition, each family will bring:

  • Two vegetarian/dairy main course dishes.  One should be a hot dish (e.g. Casserole) and the other a cold dish (e.g. Bean salad, humus, dolmades). 
  • One dessert which feeds 6 – 8 people each. 
  • Please be sure to label your dishes with your name and all ingredients.

Accommodations: Camp Miriam has winterized cabins with bunk beds; families will be bunking together.  Bathrooms with flush toilets and showers are communal.

Alternative Accommodations:  The 3-star Surf Lodge hotel is a three minute walk from the camp and highly recommended.  Speak to Leah about how to contact the hotel.

What to bring:

  • sleeping bags, pillows, towels, warm clothing, rain gear
  • kippot, candle sticks, candles, talit
  • any personal medications
  • flashlights; baby monitors for young kids
  • songbooks/ideas for talent sharing/musical instruments
  • a piece of Judaica or heritage item which has meaning for your family 

Fill out the registration form here

REGISTRATION WILL BE OPEN UNTIL SUNDAY, OCTOBER 5TH.

If you have any questions, please email or call Leah Levi at (250) 370-1246 or (604) 782-1201.