Special Shabbat Moments
By Rachel Landman
As campers and staff flow onto the main lawn, dressed in their Shabbat white, a special feeling flows through the air. Shabbat, a highlight of our community’s week, is finally here!
Shabbat is a time for reflection, to take a deep breath, and think about all we have accomplished and experienced in just one week. At Sci-Tech, Shabbat does not begin just when the sun sets, but it begins as our campers prepare for the services during our new Shabbat Shababa, which is part of our daily Sababa (awesome) period. Each Shabbat is themed around our mission of “living our 6,” living our 5 Sci-Tech Core values: kavod (respect), kesher (connection), sakranut (curiosity), taglit (discovery), and savlanut (patience) and discovering our own personal 6th value. Every camper has an opportunity to contribute to Shabbat services throughout the session. Lower campers use Shabbat Shababa as a time to reflect on our value of the week and then record a video to share that reflection with the community during Friday night visual t’filah. During upper camp Shababa, campers find passages from our Sci-Tech Torah, which has texts from the Torah and corresponding scientific facts, that relate to the weekly parsha, they also work with our song leader to prepare special songs to sing at services, and decorate the sidewalk surrounding the main lawn to create a special Shabbat atmosphere.
For me, the most special part of Shabbat at Sci-Tech is our Kabbalat Shabbat circle. Singing Shabbat Shalom, we welcome in this special day as a community, standing in a circle on the Main Lawn. This is the one time of the week, when I am able to look around and make eye contact with every camper and staff member, as we sing, sway and smile together, thinking about how we have grown as an inclusive, supportive and holy community.
Our visual tefilah, which includes pictures and videos from around camp, demonstrates how we can use technology to enhance our Jewish experiences. Following T’filah, we join together in a lively song session and Israeli dance with favorites including Artik Menta, Golden Boy, and of course the Sun Song because “Ain’t No Party Like a Sci-Tech Party!” Friday night ends around the campfire with Shabbat S’mores, getting a taste for the sweetness of Shabbat.
Saturday morning services are held in our outdoor sanctuary. Many of us don’t have opportunities to pray outside and appreciate our natural surroundings during the year, so celebrating Shabbat in our outdoor sanctuary is a special time to look around, smell in the fresh air, and hear the sounds of leaves rustling and birds chirping around us as we sing our favorite camp tunes.
While our campers are deeply engaged in their workshops during the week, spending hours learning and innovating, Shabbat is a necessary time to rest, reflect, and process how they can live by our Jewish values and use all their new skills throughout the summer and the entire year.