I did not grow up attending overnight camp. I stuck with sports day camps. It was not until my first year as a Rabbi that I slept at a Camp Ramah and witnessed firsthand the powerful effect of Jewish camping on our youth.
Each one of us joins a synagogue community for a different reason; religious education, social experience, and/or spiritual community. We arrive with our distinct needs. We hope to meet other like minded people, establish social bonds and increase our spiritual awareness. Yet, we often check our Judaism at the door. Our immersive experience lies within the 4 walls of the physical synagogue.
This Shabbat, I will be attending the Sinai Temple Religious School Shabbaton. Completely sold out, over 50 families decided to give their families an immersive experience. We will come with the common goal of “Stronger Together.” We will pray together and we will play together. We will share each other’s stories, both achievements and challenges, and we will create the future path we wish to travel.
Last week we stood at Sinai and received revelation of the Ten Commandments. This week, we read the minute details of the law that allows our society to function.
Last week, the roster for the Ramah Religious School Shabbaton was simply words on a piece of paper. This week, when we return on Sunday, those names will be stories, relationships built, experiences molded, a community formed.