Friday began with the usual bang that it does. Our chanichim (campers) spent some time on the basketball courts and the fields. Then, that ineffable moment arrived once again, where the shechina (Divine Presence) descends to be only 4 tefachim (handbreadths) from our hearts. Shabbat.
Our breaths became deeper, and our minds became closer, unified, even, in thoughts of holiness and sanctity. Every space we occupied was sacred, every moment was saturated with a transcendent joy, and every smile was a little wider, a little longer, a little more real.
The end of the night ushered us into Tisha B’Av (the ninth of the Hebrew month of Av, when we fast and commemorate the destruction of the Jewish Temples and other calamities that befell the Jews in the past). We returned to our tzrifim (bunks) solemnly.
Tisha B’av itself was a day of reflection. We watched The Boy In The Striped Pajamas, had a number of options for alternative exploration of kinot (poems traditionally recited on Tisha B’Av) through omanut (art), shira, (singing), a nature walk, and learning more about the destruction.
The chanichim demonstrated their ability to view the day not only as one of sorrow, but also one of carrying on the lessons of Tisha B’Av and avoiding sinat chinam (baseless hatred, the traditional explanation for the destruction of the Temples). We ended with a tekes (ceremony) that kept these lessons fresh in our mind.
As can often happen, the next day was completely different! We started off with yom Yisrael (Israel Day, when we have activities centered around celebrating and educating about Israel)!!! Putting on our best blue and white (best here meaning any), we marched out for a special day of bourekas, scavenger hunts, and Cafe Dilemma, an activity where the chanichim sat over tea and cookies to discuss current issues and events in Israel.
Also, the slip ‘n slide was connected to Israel, which is important and should be noted. We got to play some basketball with Rudy, a coach who visits Yavneh every year. We ended the day with another tekes, where we reflected on our personal connections to Israel as Jews and as Americans, and discussed this summer’s theme, kol Yisrael areivim ze b’ze (a Talmudic statement that means “all of Israel is responsible for each other”).
Today we begin practice for KTV (a camp-wide lip sync competition). Get excited to hear about how it goes!!!
-Jeremy and Talia, Roshei Ayda (Heads of Unit)