Daily Newsletter – July 14, 2019

Good morning friends of Capital Camps,

In the Torah, we learn that Shabbat is a gift; it is our weekly respite from the hustle and bustle of the every day.  This gift is especially valuable at camp, as we spend our days running around in the sun from activity to activity with little, if any, time to spare. Were you to ask a room full of campers or counselors what they most look forward to during the week, it is likely that many of them would choose something having to do with Shabbat. From “Proneg,” our pre-Shabbat snack, though havdalah, Shabbat at camp is an experience unlike any other.

As our Friday night activities keep us up and out later than usual, we get a bit of extra time to sleep in the morning.  Even breakfast has a slower, calmer feel to it. As we head into our morning “Shabboptions,” campers choose how they will best connect to their Shabbat experience, with 10-15 options ranging from a traditional Shabbat morning minyan to more active experiences, like “Turf and Torah,” where campers learn lessons from the Torah through sports. After Shabboptions, we join together as one community for the Torah service.

From services, we enjoy a Shabbat picnic lunch, where the whole camp eats outside and campers are free to sit with friends and siblings.  In the afternoon, we have chofesh, or free time, and our campers play games on the soccer field, tackle the climbing wall, or sit by the pool.  Even snack is special, as everyone looks forward to Shabbat cupcakes!

As the sun begins to set on our Shabbat experience, we gather once again as a camp community for shira shketah (quiet singing) and Havdalah. This week we joined together as a community for Havdalah at the pool, playfully nicknamed ‘Havdalaqua.’ Our youngest campers arrived first to sit around the pool with their feet in the water, and our older campers and staff sat around them on the pool deck. Our Reich Village campers guided us through some of our singing and shared reflections on their time at camp. I was in the pool singing. It was amazing to hear everyone’s voices singing together and see their excitement at how this space, the pool, can help create some of our holiest moments.

By creating many different pathways through which our campers can connect to the Shabbat experience, we strive to meet our campers were they are in their Jewish journey and provide them with the necessary tools to build a sustainable Jewish identity.  The spirit of Shabbat permeates the entirety of Capital Camps from Friday afternoon all the way through and beyond sundown on Saturday night.  Shabbat at camp is something special; something difficult to describe, but an experience and a feeling that stays with you for a lifetime.

Deb Winter
Summer Music Director