By Ellie Tepper Schulman
Every time I hear the two prayers we are about to sing, hashkivenu and v’shamru, I still get butterflies and I am transported back to the summer of 2007. It was my first summer at Camp Harlam, and similarly to the majority of you, I had only been at camp for 2 days. Although I had experienced time with my unit, I didn’t know many people.
I walked up the hill and sat down next to someone I had just meet and services began. When we got to hashkivenu, I was excited that I knew the tune but when the changed to v’shamru, my mood completely flipped when everyone started to sway. Before I could even think, “Holy cow, this is weird.” An arm was around my shoulder and I was swooped up into the weirdness. I don’t know if you’ve ever been swooped into a sway, but I couldn’t help but smile. I looked at my new friend by my side, and in that moment, I was swooped into the Harlam community.
For the next 6 years, while my new friend and I were on staff together or when he’s visited camp, every time the music would change we’d make eye contact and remember that moment. Tonight, just as every time I celebrate Shabbat at camp, I will smile as I sway thinking back to on that moment.
I encourage you to get swopped into the weirdness. Put your arms around each other and sway into an AMAZING summer!
Ellie Tepper Schulman has been working at Camp Harlam for the last twelve summers. This is her second summer as an Assistant Director. She supervises Junior Camp, Unit Operations, and camp’s vast programs, including all-camp programs, trips, and more! During the year, Ellie lives with her husband, Jon (the Operations Director), in Philadelphia. She loves to bake and is very proud of her tutu collection!