Backpacks and duffle bags began to fill the rooms of the Bushkill Inn resort in Pennsylvania this morning as the kids participating in the CKids Shabbaton slowly arrived at their destination.
An air of excitement and anticipation was palpable while the JewQ finalists and Tzivos Hashem soldiers from cities across the country met their fellow contenders in person for the very first time. Parents and families- invited to join along with their children – looked relaxed and happy, glad to settle in for a long weekend of inspiration and Jewish pride. Everyone has been looking forward to the much-loved Shabbaton and a chance to engage, in-person, with the other participating boys and girls, most of whom they have only interacted with behind a screen until now.
Starting today and culminating with the now annual JewQ game show, the three-day program has become a landmark event in the Jewish community calendar. It brings together the hundreds of children who worked diligently throughout the year to qualify for the JewQ finals, as well as highly ranked members of the CKids Tzivos Hashem division. Making this year extra special is the inclusion of the finalists from last year’s event, who unfortunately were unable to have their own Shabbaton due to the Corona induced cancellation.
Tonight, and tomorrow, they will all enjoy a real Shabbos experience followed by the must-watch Game show on Sunday afternoon. Their families and shluchim will be in the audience or watching the event live, cheering on the JewQ champions as they display the knowledge they have gained from months of hard work.
An exciting new initiative, just unveiled in time for this year’s program, is the introduction of simultaneous Watch Parties in each CKid affiliate chapter. Shluchim will be hosting an interactive game show in their Chabad House or on Zoom, with overflowing Kosher snacks and awards, that will run alongside the main event stream. The watch parties will give those students who didn’t make it to the finals a chance to remain involved in the program.