Sababa Values: Sukkah

It is our honor to wish the entire Sababa community a Happy Sukkot!!! At Sababa Beach Camps the sukkah is even more than a beautiful reminder of our agricultural history, a ritual to help us remember our living conditions while wondering the desert, and a modern custom that teaches us to value the simple pleasures of life like nature and close friends over the lavish consumerism that has overtaken our society.  At Sababa, we teach spiritual thriving, using FOUR core values of food (manna), water (mayim), shelter (sukkah), and fire (aish).  These four values are essential to wilderness survival, and they are the pillars of what we hope to instill and inspire in our campers, staff, families, board members, and partner organizations.

At Sababa, we teach that feeling safe is of the utmost importance, yet seeking too much comfort can cut you off from new experiences and a strong connection to the “real” world. This first summer of Sababa Beachaway (our sleepaway camp in Norfolk, VA), saw 80 new campers take at least one step out of their comfort zone by either riding a wave, setting sail, or going for a deep dive! We saw this value lived everyday as we watched various levels of  surfers, sailors, and scuba divers sometimes tip toe and sometimes plunge into new experiences.

However, this value is not only lived in our unique specialty programs. This value helps our campers make new friends, experience nature and fulfill their true sense of self. One of our 9th grade campers wrote a reflection on our value of sukkot, and she brilliantly explains how our teaching of this value enhanced her summer experience and probably her future character. “This is my first year at sleepaway camp. When I arrived, all I wanted to do was curl up into my own little bubble (my friends I knew before I came to camp) and not connect with anyone else. This coincides with the topic/value of shelter or sukkah, because I was craving shelter from this new world around me. Too much shelter would not have allowed me to have such an amazing time like I am having here. I am extremely glad that Sababa helped me open my sukkah to meet new friends and have this amazing summer!”

For this camper and the many others we had here at Sababa Beachaway, we hope that the sukkah she builds or sees every year will be a reminder of her transformative experience from this past summer and a source of inspiration to be open to new experiences on her continued Jewish journey.

As part of this Sababa Core Value series, we want to have meaningful conversations with you, our campers, friends, family, stakeholders, teachers, etc. Please contemplate the following questions.

  1. Who is a a person in your life that acts as your “sukkah,” meaning they are comfortable for you to be with, but they inspire you to be more open too?  

  2. What is something you hope to be more open to in the coming year? In other words, how will you open your sukkah like our 9th grader did above?

  3. What would it mean for you to have the value that we describe as the value of sukkah enhance your life in some way, making you more spiritually confident.

If you would like to discuss this value or these questions in further detail, please schedule a call with someone on our senior staff. You can do so by emailing us at, and you can request which of our staff it would be most helpful to connect with about this topic.

Sukkot Samaech!