This week the villages of Chalutzim and Solel are hosting Shabbat together and I could not be more excited! As you may know, these two villages have an incredible buddy program where campers from Solel (our oldest camper village) are paired with campers from Chalutzim (our youngest village). The buddy program kicked off during our first Saturday with a fun pool party and a variety of mixers and games. Our Solel/Chalutzim “buddies” encompass our Camp Wise values of Kehilah (community) and Klal Yisrael (Unity of the Jewish People), and will surely make this Shabbat a little more special and filled a special kind of ruach (spiritual energy).
The Parashat haShavua (weekly Torah portion) is Balak. Balak is a King who hires the prophet Balaam to curse the Israelites because “they are too numerous.” Balaam accepts the job and then proceeds to the Israelite camp on a humorous journey that involves a talking donkey and an angel. When Balaam arrives he can only speak the word of God, so every curse he attempts to say becomes a blessing. From this we get Mah Tovu, a blessing sung in morning services, which declares the beauty of the tents of Jacob and Bnei Yisrael (children of Israel). Upon further examination of this parasha the Solel village decided on the Shabbat theme of “Don’t Judge a Balak by its cover.” This theme highlights the duality of blessings and curses and Balaam as the only non-Israelite named as a prophet in all the Tanach.
This Shabbat, Chalutzim will be leading “ShabbART” by filling up the Chadar Ochel (dining hall) with beautifully made Chamsot (Hand of God) and banners. The Chamsa is a wonderful image that illustrates the duality of blessing and curses as our tradition tells us it is the hand of God with the all Seeing Eye that wards off evil to protect us. Chalutzim is also putting together a series of countdown skits which help all of camp countdown the days until Shabbat. In addition, Chalutzim is preparing some creative writings to enrich our Shabbat services, as well as an interpretive dance to help welcome Shabbat on Friday night.
Solel will be leading the song and pageant committees. They will pick a song that relates to the theme and sing it at the beginning of Friday night services. They will also choose songs to add into our Havdallah service on Saturday evening. The pageant they create will be performed Saturday morning as a funny skit-based D’var Torah. Chalutzim/Solel buddies will lead parts of the service together on Friday evening and Saturday morning, including hakafa (parading the Torah), Torah reading and hagba/galila (dressing the Torah). I cannot imagine any other way to add so much Kavannah (spontaneous spirituality) into Shabbat as we are doing here. What a beautiful way to bring to life so many of our six Jewish Core Values– L’dor V’dor, from the eldest campers to the youngest.
Kyna Levi (Jewish Educator)