Jul 22, 2018

Posted by: Kelsey O'Hara

Shabbat Shalom Ranch Camp!

Session 3, Day 11

The sunset tonight marked the ending of the second Shabbat of the session, what would in other sessions be the last Shabbat – but, as one of the many upsides of a longer session, the Session 3 campers get to experience three Shabbat celebrations at camp. No matter how many Shabbats anyone may have the chance to experience, it’s immediately obvious that this time at camp is like no other. With each Shabbat, the camp community grows stronger, and the songs and prayers become more meaningful.

This week’s Shabbat celebrations began Friday evening, as the entire camp gathered in the South Village commons before filtering down to the pavilions for services. The services here are spirited and lively, keeping the kids engaged and making sure they know what is going on. Services this week began with a dance lead by the Chalutzim unit to a popular Israeli song, to wake everyone up and instill energy into the rest of the service. With hand motions, clapping, dances, and the opportunity for campers to help lead prayers onstage, there was never a dull moment.

As the hour began to wind down, the community moved together to the Chad for a traditional Ranch Camp Shabbat dinner – soup, vegetables, chicken, and of course, babka (or chocolate challah) for dessert. Full and satisfied, the camp moved locations once again, the last time for the night, to the basketball court. Israeli dancing, or rikkud, is one of the most anticipated parts of Friday evenings. As the sun set over the camp, the spotlights kept the court bright, and as the rest of the property quieted into night, the camp’s voice rose as one for a last song circle.

Saturday, to continue the night before, is usually a more relaxed day at camp, with a lot of cabin time and an extended Menucha to rest and store energy for the rest of the week. After a late wake-up and walk in breakfast (the food, bagels and lox, another tradition), the camp gathered in Eddie’s Corner for morning services. These, too, are very interactive, with another dance to start the day, campers onstage to present the prayers and act out this week’s Torah portion, and a game at the end to help campers learn more about Israel.

After a restful day and a beautiful Havdalah service to separate Shabbat from the rest of the week, campers and staff alike felt content, joyful, and satisfied, ready to begin the second week of Session 3, ready to spend the next week in a place of family and community.