Blog  Hineini: Welcoming Shabbat together back in Byfield

Hineini: Welcoming Shabbat together back in Byfield

Thoughts on Session 1 2021 Shabbat from Rachel Frish, Assistant Director

Hineini.

We spend so much of our lives waiting for the best days to come. As a 23-year-old college graduate, I moved halfway across the country to be a congregational youth professional. I had a loving congregation, fantastic professional mentors, inspiring teens, vibrant youth groups, and energetic children. But something was still missing, and I couldn’t put my finger on it.

Spending the last five summers with Sci-Tech has been the single biggest anchor to my Judaism. I had come to camp looking to build a community, work with children, and pay forward the Jewish summer camp experiences I had participated in my whole life. There was something so special about coming to this place and connecting with other twenty-somethings over shared ritual experiences, shared values and goals for our summer, and the desire to create a community for ourselves in a space where one hadn’t existed before – to turn these staff, these campers, into our family. My personal missing link. Sci-Tech was giving me the best days I’d been searching for.

Hineini.

Shabbat has always been one of my favorite parts of camp – the sunsets, the melodies, the dinner, the dancing, and the special moments that don’t seem to appear during any other time of the week. Shabbat is about the traditions you build with your camp community as a whole and the traditions you build within your own community you find at camp.

One unique tradition among my Sci-Tech friend group is a game called “How many times will Rachel cry during Shabbat?” Without fail, some part of our Friday night or Saturday morning Shabbat experiences will give me “Shabbat Sha-Feelies” and my emotions will overflow, usually in the form of happy tears. During our first Shabbat as a full staff, before the campers even arrived, we didn’t have a microphone and were forced to improvise for our pre-meal blessings. Everyone stood around one or two tables in tight circles and blessed the candles, wine, and challah together. It was so different from anything we’d ever done – so intimate and special that I was moved to tears. Shabbat, 1; Rachel, 0.

Hineini.

As beautiful and spontaneous as our staff Shabbatot had been together, nothing could compare to the first Shabbat with a full camp again. Almost 45% of our Summer 2021 campers were having their first ever Sci-Tech Shabbat experience – the sunset, the melodies, the dinner, the dancing, and the special moments that don’t seem to appear during any other time of the week. Through the rain and the schedule changes, there were endless smiles, hundreds of challah slices consumed, plenty of dancing feet, and even more sticky fingers from delicious Shabbat Sha-S’mores.  I did not think it was possible to be more excited to welcome in the second Shabbat tonight, but here I am. 

Hineini.

From Summer 2019, to our virtual Taglit series of one-off events, to hundreds of hours spent on Zoom together for Virtual Academy, to this moment right here. Sci-Tech Summer 2021. We made it. We’re here. We’re creating the best days of our lives.

Hineini.

Author: luciebwaldman

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