By, Abbie Frankel
Being a Jewish teen at a public high school that is not predominantly Jewish is not always so easy. It is not necessarily hard, but my all-Jewish private school that I attended for nine years set the bar pretty high. About once a season I explain to my teachers that I will be missing their class due to a “Jewish convention” that I will be attending that weekend. This always confuses the teacher for whatever reason. So, for my teachers that are confused and somewhat unaccepting of that fact that I am missing their class, here is what I am really doing when I go to my so-called “Jewish conventions.”
First thing you should know is the formal name of my convention is actually kallah. Kallah is the Hebrew word for a convention of teachers that was held in Babylonian academies. I do not expect you to understand kallah, hence the use of “Jewish convention.” We have a leadership kallah, a fall kallah, a winter kallah and a spring kallah.
When I go to a kallah, I meet up with some friends from other states. I get to see friends from Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and parts of Georgia that are not necessarily close to me. These friends are so special to me and I love getting to see them.
Not everything about my weekend has to do with my religion. Being Jewish is just a unifying factor of everyone that is there. We have a couple of meaningful services and maybe some Jewish programming, but the majority of the weekend is spent making lasting friendships or talking about hot topics like gun control, gender rights, and equality. We always have a really fun Saturday evening programs that range from going to Andretti’s for some arcade games and go karts, to a dance with all of your favorite songs and dance moves.
The kallot, the plural form of kallah, are held at different synagogues or camps within my region. I live in the southern area region, more commonly known as SAR. Sometimes, I travel with my youth group on a bus to different states for the weekend. Other times, the kallot are local and I can just meet my friends and youth group members there.
My favorite part about being at a kallah is being able to be myself with my best friends. We stay up until ungodly hours together laughing, playing games and making memories that will last a lifetime. The weekends are filled with adventures that manage to fly by in the blink of an eye. I guess time really does go by quickly when you are having fun. These “Jewish conventions” are where I feel at home.
So teachers, I hope you now understand what going to a “Jewish convention” really means to me.
Abbie Frankel is a junior at Pope High School, and is the President of SCRUFY (Temple Sinai, Atlanta, GA). This article originally appeared on her blog, http://email@example.com.