What is a Shabbaton?

A Shabbaton is an extended Shabbat retreat weekend, from Friday through Sunday. Keshet strives for our retreats to be restful, celebratory, exciting, and joyful. We offer multiple options for prayer and celebration of Shabbat in a warm, accessible, and inviting environment. In order to create a welcoming experience for all participants, our group spaces are Shabbat-friendly and technology-free.

Who is eligible to attend Keshet’s Shabbaton?

Our Shabbaton retreats are open to LGBTQ and ally Jewish teens in grades 7-12. You must be at least 13 years old to attend our Shabbaton.

How do participants travel to the Shabbaton?

Keshet provides buses (free of charge) from certain cities, and arranges pickups at area airports and/or train stations at designated times. Information about travel is emailed shortly after you complete your registration and exact locations for meeting our buses are emailed out the week before the Shabbaton weekend. Our staff coordinates travel so that everyone arrives safely at the Shabbaton Retreats! For security reasons, we don’t share details about travel publicly to protect the safety of our participants and staff. If you have specific questions about travel, please email us at [email protected].

How will you help protect against the spread of COVID-19 at the Shabbaton?

The health and safety of Shabbaton participants is our number one priority. We require all Shabbaton participants and Keshet staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and provide proof of vaccination when registering. We will also uphold additional health protocols–such as wearing masks, distancing, etc.–in person at the Shabbaton in adherence to the most current CDC guidance at the time. We are continually assessing the safety and feasibility of hosting in person Shabbaton Retreats, and will proactively communicate about any on-site protocols, postponement, or cancellation. If you have specific questions about our COVID-19 protocols, please contact our Director of Youth Programs at [email protected].

How does Keshet define ‘Jewish’?

We are a deeply diverse and intentionally pluralistic community. Participants come to our Shabbaton from all of the major denominations of Judaism, or from none.. Some participants are traditionally religious; others identify as secular or cultural; while others are exploring, or in the process of, conversion. We also strive to create an environment where everyone is comfortable religiously and also able to grow and learn from each other and our Jewish experiences and identities. Many participants come from multifaith families. We welcome whatever flavor of Jewishness feels right for you!

What does Shabbat look like at the Shabbaton?

We strive for our Shabbaton to be a space where Jews of diverse backgrounds and observances can share a meaningful Shabbat. Some participants are accustomed to honoring Shabbat every week, in a variety of ways, while others have not marked or celebrated Shabbat before. Our goal is to meet everyone’s religious needs.

When registering, you have the option to select if you would like a roommate who observes certain Shabbat prohibitions (for example, not using electricity). All Shabbaton-wide programs are planned to avoid traditional Shabbat prohibitions so that no one feels their Shabbat observance is isolating them. Some small-group breakout programs during Shabbat will include activities like writing or making art, that many Jews avoid over Shabbat, but there will always be multiple options among those programs allowing participants to choose programs that fit their own Shabbat practice.

The prayer options at the Shabbaton include a variety of choices based on interests that participants share on our registration form. We typically have a traditional-liturgy minyan/prayer group option, and we look for creative solutions around any gender issues in prayer spaces, based on the needs of the group. And of course, no one is forced or pressured to participate in prayer.

Who is in charge of Keshet’s Shabbaton?

While peer-led, all of Keshet’s Shabbaton weekend gatherings are directed by Keshet staff. For more information about who will be staffing a particular Shabbaton Retreat, contact us at [email protected].

How much does the Shabbaton cost?

Registration is subsidized to $54.00, which includes programs, meals, lodging, and group transportation. It does not cover the cost of transportation to/from our buses. We offer need-based travel scholarships for airfare and registration: we strive to ensure that cost is not a barrier for any youth who wants to participate. Partial and full travel subsidies will be available on a first come, first served basis. Contact us at [email protected] for more information.

Keshet Shabbaton travel scholarships are made possible with the generous support of the Davis Family and their Friends, in memory of Stanley Bello.

May participants make housing requests?

Yes! Shabbaton registration will include a space for participants to request whether they want to room with people of the same gender or no preference. In all aspects of programming and housing, we respect participants’ gender identities. Participants will also be able to request if they want to room with people of similar Shabbat observances. You may request a room with a friend and we will do our best to meet housing requests, but cannot guarantee all roommate requests will be met.

What is Keshet’s approach to safety and security at a Shabbaton?

The safety and wellbeing of Shabbaton participants is our number one priority. Keshet’s staff is prepared for medical emergencies, and we work closely with personnel at retreat sites to ensure that security measures are clearly understood and consistently implemented. If you have specific questions about safety and security matters, please contact [email protected]

What should we pack for the Shabbaton Retreat?

In addition to a great attitude and your excitement at seeing old friends and meeting new friends, there are a few things you should bring to the Shabbaton. Click here to see our packing list!


Do you have more questions?

We have more answers! Email questions to [email protected].


Can’t wait to see you at a Keshet Shabbaton Retreat!

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