Shabbaton Outline: Shema

A Shabbaton outline explaining how Portland NCSY ran a Shabbaton on the theme of Shema.

Theme: Beauty

Introduction (Erev Shabbos):

Doovie Jacoby came up on stage, wearing props, to the music of Mr. America (found on Google). He then asked teens some questions to get them thinking about the topic of beauty.

Activity and Video (Erev Shabbos):
The Garbage Game

The idea was to start with the positive message: You are more beautiful than you think you are. When we think about ourselves, we set the bar very high. But when other people judge us, they can give us a fuller (and hopefully more positive) picture. Also, we must keep in mind that our goal is to be the best we can, given the limited capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses we were born with (or, in this case: the limited supplies you were provided with).

  • Teens are given basic supplies (garbage bags, duct tape, paper cups, plates, bowls, markers, etc.). Each team is tasked with creating a different style of clothing (sports, beach, formal, casual, fashion, etc.) Each team has to dress up one of their team members within 5-8 minutes, using only the supplies provided.
  • Each advisor then takes two teams and asks 4 questions to each time separately about their own project, and 4 questions about the other team’s project. Finally, the advisor brings the two teams together and shows how the other team saw positive aspects about their creative clothing that they themselves had missed.

After the activity, there was a wrap-up discussion about the Torah’s view on beauty.

Then the teens watched Dove Real Beauty Sketches – a short video clip demonstrating how your perception of yourself can be significantly different from how other people see you.

Speech (Friday Night) by Rabbi Chanan Spivak:

Rabbi Spivak spoke about what beauty is not. The point was that what you see on a billboard (external beauty) doesn't really get you anywhere in the real world. Natural beauty is really a present from Hashem and says nothing about you as a person. Therefore, someone whose entire focus in life is on their beauty is very shallow and empty.

(There are really many ways you can go with this but the main idea here is to highlight that real beauty is not about good looks.)

Shabbos Learning Session:
What is Real Beauty?

Teens learn that the Torah values inner beauty rather than external perfection. What is inner beauty? Just as external beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, so too is inner beauty. What you view as beautiful reveals what you value and who you aspire to be. So what do you think is truly beautiful?

Video (at Havdallah)

After havdallah, we showed a video created by Rabbi Chanan Spivak. It was a remix of the following videos: