We say that at Camp Inc., Shabbat is a time when we focus on connecting to three things: community, God, and self. I believe that one way to do so is to be a participant, rather than an observer, in Shabbat services. Whether it’s humming along to the melodies of the prayers, or relating a passage from your favorite book to the weekly Torah portion, there’s a way for each and every camper to feel apart of our Shabbat experience.
The way we encourage camper involvement during Shabbat is by assigning a cabin each week to help conduct our worship service. Tonight, the Apprentice boys and girls will be taking the lead, each in his or her own way. Some will come up to the bima (stage) to chant prayers, some will recite English readings from the siddur (prayer book), and others will speak about the Shabbat theme of the week.
The theme, chosen by these cabins and is also the name of a book, is “the opposite of loneliness,” which is a feeling that the camp environment naturally promotes. Explained in the book is the notion that no word exists for the opposite of loneliness—that this feeling of being a part of something bigger than oneself, of being loved by and in harmony with others, cannot be simplified into a single word. It’s this sensation that our 8th and 9th grade boys and girls will be describing in their own words at services tonight. They’ll share personal stories of how camp fosters togetherness, friendship, and the opposite of loneliness.
Shabbat at camp is a truly unique experience—an opportunity for us to create something together that is 100% our own. I look forward to us all gathering in our amphitheater tonight in celebration of individuality, community, and spirituality.