Michigan Interlaken Staff & Alumni Start a Weekly Shabbat Tradition

Written by Sophie Rogoff


Hi! My name is Sophie Rogoff, and I am a junior at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. I absolutely love it here! I am involved in lots of communities on campus; however, the one that makes me feel the most at home is composed of Interlaken friends. I never missed a summer at Interlaken since I was a Shoresh camper. I was an Ozo in 2019, and I was on staff in 2021 and for a week in 2022. During the summer of ‘21, Noa, the Shoresh Unit Leader, told me that I absolutely had to become friends with her best friend from camp, Katie Berg, who also went to University of Michigan. I had never met her before, but we still managed to connect and began organizing a Shabbat dinner with all of our camp friends.


On a Friday night in September, Ben Shovers (Ozo ‘16), Claire Inbinder (Ozo ‘19), Micah Sweet (Ozo ‘19), Jessie Kahn (Ozo ‘20 if camp had been open), Katie (Ozo ‘17), and I got together for a Shabbat dinner. What would seem like a random group of people to almost anyone else, made total sense if you are an Interlaken alum. 


This first dinner has turned into a weekly tradition. For hours most Friday nights, we gather to unpack our weeks, reminisce on camp and life stories, and enjoy Katie Berg’s amazing cooking which, of course, always seems to include two homemade challot. Even Micah and Claire, who have been my longtime camp friends, were friends at Michigan that I wanted to see more of but couldn’t find the time. Our Friday night Shabbat celebrations made that happen. We’ve even had camp friends visit from other schools to join in our weekly Shabbat celebrations and share in the laughter and good food.


These Shabbat dinners, for me, are an escape from a stressful college week. It is truly the time of the week where I feel most at home. I could never have imagined how far Camp would extend into my life, beyond being a camper, but it definitely has in the most important and profound ways. Just having the connection of camp made this group, some who had never met before, become a family. I look forward to continuing the Michigan Camp Interlaken Shabbat tradition at Michigan and beyond! Go Blue!