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May 22, 2015

The Maker Shabbaton

by Dr. Eliezer Jones

Last Thursday a group of VTHS students along with Mr. Joseph and myself headed up to the bay area for a Maker Shabbaton! A Maker Shabbaton you ask? Well, the main reason for our trip was to go to the Maker Faire which “is the Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth—a family-friendly festival of invention, creativity and resourcefulness, and a celebration of the Maker movement.” The maker movement is one filled with hobbyists, innovators and creative people who produce, create and bring value to the world. So, what better place to showcase to our student the importance of innovation and creativity as well as tap into their own then to go to the faire. However, we did so much more than that.

Our Shabbaton consisted of a fun road trip to the bay area, BBQ, soccer game, tour of Google, lunch with Jewglers (Jewish Googlers), stop at Facebook and Apple, adventure on the Stanford campus, amazing Shabbos in San Jose filled with beautiful davening, D’Vrei Torah, Zemiros, learning, improv games and Seudas as a group and at the homes of Rabbis, Googlers and Tech Marketers, Ice Cream extravaganza and of course, The Maker Faire. Below is a video that captures most of the excitement (minus Shabbos, but I am confident that the students captured memories of Shabbos that will last a lifetime).

I want to thank the students who were amazing on the Shabbton. I want to thank Mr. Joseph who partnered with me to make this happen. I want to thank my wife for her support and helping throughout the Shabbaton. I am forever grateful to Rabbi Shaya Guttenberg and his wife Mrs. Dina Guttenberg who opened their home to all of us and made us feel like family. I want thank my assistant Jessica who made the Google Tour happen and to the Jewglers, Greg, Ezequiel, Dimitri and Shabtzi who took time out of their busy day to show us around and have lunch with us. I would also like to thank those who hosted our students for Shabbos lunch in San Jose and to the Rabbi and the entire San Jose Am Echad Shul community who warmly welcomed our students.

As the Maker Movement Motto states “if you can’t open it, you don’t own it.” Well we opened this Shabbaton wide open and owned it!

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