Once upon a time, I went to a Shabbaton in Crown Heights, and it was probably one of the most amazing Shabbats of my life (despite being completely overwhelmed by what can only be described as a massive crowd). Once upon another time, I indirectly ended up at a Shabbaton in West Orange at my dear husband's family's shul, and that, too, was amazing. So, I suppose, you could call me a proponent of the Shabbaton experience -- it's like an awesome camp experience, for adults!
Enter, if you will, The Linden (NJ) Shabbaton on May 6-7, 2011, for young couples and families, buyers and renters. Someone once told me that if Linden were compared to a pair of jeans, it would be "relaxed fit." Now, I'm not a pants-wearing kind of gal, but I remember relaxed-fit jeans, and they were cozy and comfortable and made me feel at home in my own skin (thank heavens for jean skirts!). At Congregation Anshe Chesed in Linden, shul isn't a fashion show, and it's not a place to see if you're keeping up with the Schwartzes. Linden folks, I've been told, come together in a relaxed environment to focus on G-d and community.
Thus, during this Shabbaton, the Linden community wants to invite the curious and hopeful to take a gander at what it means to be comfortable and relaxed before your friends and community, as well as HaShem.
And if I haven't caught your attention yet, how about this: The Shabbos Park. This is a place where all of the couples -- children or no children -- get together and hang out on Shabbos afternoon. During this Shabbos afternoon powwow, the rabbi holds a class for women, while the men entertain the children (and themselves, one hopes!). All I can say is, drool. Learning for women while the men (who are really kids) get to play with the kids? This is a definite win-win.
According to my sources, Linden is a beautiful, safe, and very affordable community. The location is great, and the community is devoted to simplicity and spiritual growth -- all according to a "relaxed fit" atmosphere.
For more information on The Linden Shabbaton, just shoot an email to the shul. I just might be there. Will you? It never hurts to check out a new community -- you never know when you might fall in love and find that perfect fit for which you've been searching.
And, for what it's worth, Anshe Chesed's Rabbi Hess is on Twitter and he has a blog! Talk about a tech-savvy community.