This reading was shared with staff at our first Friday night Shabbat service of 2017.
By Sam Blum
A week ago, I was up, like this, opening a service in front of my home congregation. I spoke for a few minutes about my “Jewish Journey” as part of an initiative my synagogue is doing. What did I talk about, you may ask? Well, this of course. Literally being right here one week from then, which is now. Time is weird like that.
I spoke about Camp Harlam. How I was reluctant to go at first but have grown to love it with a mind-boggling intensity. Though I tried to explain camp Shabbat — the music, the white, the community — I couldn’t quite explain how it was so vital to myself, to my “Jewish Journey.”
I realize now that this may have been an exercise in futility. Even if I could explain the meaning of Shabbat at camp, that would just be for me, personally. I can’t tell you how to feel. Shabbat is magical, mystical, it hangs in the air — you shouldn’t pin it down and try to feel just one thing about it.
I wrote this in a new journal. It starts here, with Shabbat, being together in the indescribable aura of the special time. This is our first Shabbat together. For some of us, it’s our first Shabbat ever. We’re just starting on this Jewish journey, we’re just starting to understand what Shabbat means to us, here and now. We’re just starting to fill our summer journals with thought, experience, with words of prayer and reflections. It’s just the beginning.
It’s just the beginning.
To quote noted Talmudic scholar, Natasha Bedingfield, “The rest is still unwritten.”
Sam Blum is an Assistant Unit Head at camp in 2017 and will be working in Sharon First Session.