By Cantor Rebecca Robbins
On Sunday, we commemorated Tisha b’Av, a day of historical commemorative significance as we consider some of the significant tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people. And this Shabbat, we settle into Shabbat Nachamu, the Shabbat of comfort that follows the commemoration of our collective historical sadness. It’s no coincidence that Friday also marks the 15th of Av, which in Rabbinic tradition is a pretty special love-filled day! Knowing how much we need to return to comfort and joy, the rabbis create this observance of a Jewish “Valentine’s Day,” and it has us turning our thoughts even more to love. And if that wasn’t enough – this week’s Torah portion has a little God-love, where we hear the words of Sh’ma Yisrael and the beginning of V’ahavta (you shall love!).
As we prepared for Shabbat, Carmel campers really thought about love and love at camp. Check out some thoughts (and some questions!) from our Carmel bloggers.
“We chose love because love is thinking about others and being together. At Camp Harlam, we experience love almost every day. We can talk and have fun together, and make lots of new friends.”-Maxine D.
“I came to camp not knowing anyone in Carmel. The day I came to camp, I didn’t know anyone in my bunk! Day after day, I have become closer and closer to my bunk mates. First was my actual bunk (bed!) mate. Then, a few more. Then? The rest of my bunk. Now, as we come to the end of camp, we are all like sisters. This is love, and the love of being home.”-Sadie R.
“So, how does love connect to me? This is a question I keep asking myself that I still can’t figure out the answer. It’s kind of bothering me! I love my parents. I also love sushi, the color black, fancy clothes, video games, PE, and cute baby animals. I’m not even sure which one I love the best! Maybe all of them? At camp, I feel connected to love when I am doing what I love – when I am climbing the tower, when we have bunko (bunk time often on rainy days), and those rare but awesome moments of quiet during flashlight time. What’s your answer? How does love connect you? Tell me in the comments!”-Sam O.
“When you come into the gates of Camp Harlam, everyone shouts “Welcome Home!” I keep thinking about that as I get ready to go home after Shabbat. Camp Harlam is my home away from home because I love everyone here – and I know a lot of people at camp! My bed is even feeling just as comfortable as my bed at home. Getting to know all my friends and having people at camp that help me overcome my fears have been ways to feel love at camp. But I also get to know myself better here, and that’s cool. Camp is, I guess, also a little break from my family – and that makes me love them even more. So, I have my home in Virginia, and my home here at camp. And in both places there’s a ton of love. Tell me in the comments, what does it feel like to have love in your homes?”- Leo R.
Cantor Rebecca “CR” Robins is the Cantor Educator at Temple Sinai in Washington DC. She lives in Montgomery County, MD with her husband and son, Gus, and is a major lover of all things camp – even yellow meal.