Our Last Shabbat of the Summer

Geoff Menkowitz7.17.20

Each summer, we look towards our final Shabbat with trepidation because it signals the beginning of the end of our time at Camp. Shabbat leads into Nachsho Live, which leads into packing, which leads into turkey dinner, closing ceremonies and then departure.

We are also always eager and excited about the last Shabbat because we get to celebrate Adat HaGesher – our oldest campers, the leaders in our community whom we have watched develop and mature as individuals and as a group. And we know it will be a beautiful Kabbalat Shabbat (even if it rains) because everyone is truly present, savoring the experience of community and, together, striving spiritually to appreciate that which is beyond ourselves.

This Shabbat, our unique Camp season draws to a close. As we do every year, it is our privilege to spotlight the extraordinary group of emerging adults whom we have watched grow up. Gesher XX has had a summer unlike any before but the sense of pride and respect that I feel when I speak to them is as strong, if not stronger, than that which I’ve felt for the decades of groups that we have similarly guided to the end of their camper years.

Gesher XX has persevered through disappointment. When Camp was canceled, they didn’t give up; they showed up. They made aidah tank-tops and choreographed their own “entrance dance.” Forty-five of them served as CITs for Kayitz BaBayit, learning how to design programs and gaining experience working with younger campers. They have held fast to each other and the values of our community – finding comfort and joy in singing together on Zoom, punctuating their weeks with Shabbat and endeavoring to be inclusive. Their counselors and other staff members have watched them support each other with beautiful demonstrations of compassion and kindness.

Tracking the progress of this pandemic, the short-term outlook seems bleak. But, when we estimate the trajectory of these Gesher XX leaders, it’s clear that the future is very bright!

We invite you to join us tonight at 6 PM for a special Kabbalat Shabbat to honor Gesher XX. The Gesher campers will help us welcome Shabbat and set the mood by performing a beautiful song they’ve learned. And instead of my D’var Torah, a member of Gesher XX will be teaching our community.

You will also want to make sure that you are with us for Havdallah tomorrow at 9:45 PM when we maintain our tradition of Gesher “taking the stage” and leading our community in harkadah (dancing).