April 10, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

A Teen’s Reflection on Bnei Akiva IDP Shabbaton

This year’s Bnei Akiva’s Israeli Day Parade shabbaton was like none other. Marching in the Celebrate Israel Parade with Bnei Akiva truly brought out my Jewish pride and love for Israel. The singing was unmatched by any other group participating in the parade. “Yibaneh Beit Hamikdush,” “Hatikva” and the Bnei Akiva anthem were just some of the many songs we sang as we marched, waved flags and held signs. Even though this year’s shabbaton was exclusive to Bnei Akiva tzevet (teen staff members) in local communities and Bnei Akiva day camps, and thereby smaller in number than previous years, the ruach felt a lot stronger. The smiles on the faces of those watching the parade were truly empowering. Although there were many protesters there, we did not let them sour our mood and continued to spread positivity while the protesters screamed absurdities.

While the parade was beyond amazing, I’d have to say that Shabbat at Moshava IO was surely the highlight of the weekend. As someone who lives in an anti-Zionist Jewish community and goes to an anti-Zionist school, it was a breath of fresh air to be around fellow Zionists who genuinely care about Zionism and the Jewish people. Not only were the staff kind and caring but the kids were approachable and friendly. The divrei Torah were inspiring and the shiurim were engaging and thought provoking. Over Shabbat I learned Eim Habanim Semicha with a chavruta who I met at last year’s IDP and discussed many of the different concepts that I learned in it with staff and other kids. All in all, I would say this year’s IDP was my favorite shabbaton I have ever been to and I honestly cannot think of anything I could have changed to make it better.


Joey Phillips is a high school senior, and rosh snif in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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