Friday, August 21, 2009

Shabbat, Camp-Style

Dan at Ramah in the summer of 2002.....

And last Sunday....

Our kids are now returning from camp, and re-entry is often difficult. For my son Dan, it was particularly so this week, for after eight years, he just concluded his last summer at Camp Ramah as a camper. I hope more of our congregants will consider the Ramah experience for their children; it has been incredibly rewarding for Dan.

Ramah, in Hebrew, means "heights," and there is no greater natural "high" than Friday night at Ramah, when the entire camp joins together to welcome the Shabbat. That is the case at other camps as well, but at Ramah the feeling is so incredible, and then the kids go home to their congregations and find that feeling almost impossible to replicate. There is an organic, natural flow to Jewish life there; it breathes out every pore, not just on Shabbat, but all week long.

Our outdoor services try to recreate that feeling every week in the summer. On occasion, we can come close, but it's never quite the same. Nonetheless, Dan is undaunted, and he has asked to lead services tonight, camp style.

And that's precisely what he'll be doing. Because of the oppressive weather, we're going to be inside. But as a special treat, we'll be holding services for the first time in our newly refinished lobby downstairs.
Join us at 6:30.

So now my family has completed the summer camp portion of our lives, just in time to send our first child to college in exactly two weeks. As a congregant advised me this week, just when you think you have one phase down, a new one begins.

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