by Diana Abrahams
Last summer was my first year at a Jewish camp. Before I got here I conceptually understood the differences, the Jewishness, but it wasn’t until the first Shabbat during staff week, here in these woods, that I could feel the difference. Last summer was hard for me because of some family and personal circumstances, but what struck me was how safe I felt here among these people. I could be myself, I could be frustrated, sad, crazy, and I could grow with the support and love of the relationships that began the moment I got here. When I got home from camp my mom asked me what the best part was. I answered the people. I had so much fun with all the campers, and loved seeing them overcome challenges and celebrate successes, but the people, and the part of camp that meant the most to me and brought me back this summer, were my fellow counselors, all of you. This community is young going into this first Shabbat together but I have already seen and experienced the joy of getting to know someone new and what a difference a smile, a “how are you”, or a hug can make from each of you. It can be a long and exhausting summer, but it can be one filled with encouragement, support, caring, and love among this community, together with the people sitting next to you as we celebrate our first Shabbat together.