November 11, 2016
“Jewishly inspiring!” “Fun and relaxing.” “Sign me up for next year!” Those are just some of the raves we heard at Book it to Shabbat, Federation’s third annual PJ Library weekend family retreat held at Camp Ramah Darom’s incredible facility in the North Georgia mountains. Forty families and kids, plus a sprinkling of doting grandparents, enjoyed early November’s bright sunny days and crisp evenings over a three-day retreat packed with crafts, outdoor activities and the celebration of Jewish storytelling. Highlights of the weekend included bedtime stories with PJ Library author Tami Lehman-Wilzig, a rousing Shabbat sing-along, Shabbat services for tots as well as ages 6+, a hike to Hillbilly Falls, and an activity-filled story walk. Evening babysitting made it possible for parents to enjoy social time at adults-only porch parties on Friday and Saturday nights.
As a partnership between PJ Library and Ramah Darom, Book it to Shabbat was intentionally planned to showcase both organizations. Prospective families got to tour Camp Ramah Darom, meet its director, and learn more about Jewish overnight camp options and tuition scholarship incentives. The weekend also gave families a sneak preview of PJ Library’s newest program, PJ Our Way, which allows older kids ages 9 to 11 to select and receive free Jewish chapter books at home each month. You’ll see more about PJ Our Way in the coming weeks.
Julie Sack, who chaired this year’s event, was delighted with the turnout and the spirit of the weekend. “This was our family’s second year at Book it to Shabbat and it was perfect, combining our love of nature and outdoor adventures with family-friendly Jewish experiences. While we celebrate Shabbat in our own home every week, being here with so many other families took us to a new spiritual level. After all the planning, I am sad the weekend has come and gone, but I want to spread the word and encourage more families to come join in the fun next year.”