Going into my 5th year as a staff member, I can understand how long 10 weeks on camp can really feel. This role requires lots of energy, compassion, enthusiasm and patience and by this point of the summer (around week 9), days can seem to blend together. While the days seem to be long, the weeks seem to go by extremely quickly. I have almost no understanding of what a Monday means at camp, but every week, Shabbat sneaks up on me again! Shabbat marks the week and proves that time is linear, but each time we have Shabbat, our change of routine and day of rest is necessary.
Instead of electives and pool time on Fridays, we have two all camp programs. After our afternoon snack, we have an extended shabbat prep time for us to clean up camp, shower off and welcome the day of rest. Strolling to services as a whole camp and saying the blessings over the food and children are all special traditions that add to our change in routine. Shabbat Shira and Israeli dancing right afterward are my favorite activities at camp. The passion that we all sing with, the joy it brings to our faces, the kehillah kedosha (holy community) that it creates really brings all of camp into one headspace – Shabbat.
After an extra hour of sleep and optional breakfast, we have a torah service in the morning, followed by brunch and menucha. A rest for campers, as well as staff, is so welcome in our hectic schedule that never seems to slow down. On Saturday afternoons, campers get to choose which activities they would like to partake in – some favorites include the tower and swing, finishing art projects from the week and learning guitar with some of our music specialists. Shower hour, followed by a relaxing cookout and campfire end our day of rest at camp. The change in schedule refreshes us all, and the all camp activities allow staff and campers to see friends and siblings in other units. Taking this time to renew our week gives us the opportunity to rejuvenate our minds, reset our expectations and find ourselves wrapped in Jewish thought for a few days, providing us with the clarity to meet the challenges of the week to come and reflect on our accomplishments of the week before. Soon, camp will be over for 2021, but each Shabbat gives us a day to stop and think about this special time.
By Michael Fishman, Co-Tzofim Unit Head