Opportunity’s Na-Na-Knocking

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Written by Jacob Glickman, Eva L. Gunther Head Song Leader

I flubbed. Really bad. Not just the “play the wrong guitar chord and move on” kind of bad. I’m talking about the groove-ruining, song-stopping, song-session-halting kind of flub. For a head songleader, this is one of the worst things that can happen on the job. It’s destabilizing, it’s embarrassing, it’s a strikeout. But I didn’t care, because what triggered my flub-a-dub-dub (I’m still using humor to cope) was nothing short of a profound, holy epiphany.

Let me break it down, here’s what happened: We were playing Dan Nichols’s “L’takein: The Na Na Song” and as I turned to give a little smile to one of my co-songleaders, the projection screen behind her caught my eye. Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech Haolam, Shenantan Lanu Hisdamnut L’takein et HaOlam. Great. Nothing new, I’ve sang these words a hundred times. What caught my eye was a singular word planted solidly in the middle of the translation: ‘Opportunity’. Blessed are you Adonai our God, sovereign of the universe for granting us the opportunity to repair the world. In that moment I felt the world open up and everything clicked into place.

Glickman smiling on stage as he leads us in song and dance during our Maccabia games

Opportunity—wow. What a concept! This summer I’ve come to learn that Camp is ripe with opportunity and then this song just made it real for me! Since then, I’ve come to label everything at Kalsman as opportunity. There are big and fun opportunities like climbing the tower, shooting a bow and arrow, developing a love-interest; but also small opportunities that may be overlooked: eating every meal with your friends, being in the sun, being active. And on top of all that, what a unique formulation for a prayer! It praises and thanks God for doing God’s side of the work of making this world a better place, “Thank you God for upholding your end of the  bargain, your side of the partnership so that we may uphold ours.”

Process Theology contains the idea that the world is constantly being created in every moment, and that, through Torah, God has given us insight into what God wants of us and the world. And so in every moment we are granted the choice to make movements towards that initial aim, the divine target. Thus, it is upon us to recognize the opportunity we are provided and remember that we have the power to improve the world.

Schwooooooooooooop.  And I was sucked back into reality. I got the tune back on track, finished the song-session, and put my guitar away. And with a full and vibrating heart I transitioned to bed, and as the sun set in the distance I fell asleep thinking of all the opportunities that awaited me the following day.