Cara, a Jacobs lifer, is the Head Songleader and Marketing Intern this summer. She just finished her sophomore year at the University of Texas, where she studies public relations. Cara is the daughter of Sheril and Rabbi Micah Greenstein of Memphis, TN.
Eight short years ago, I was sitting in cabin prayers with my Maskilim cabin, “Pikchim.” Like any other evening, we took turns sharing our “rose and thorn” of the day—with many comments from the peanut gallery, as usual—and listening to my counselor, Annie Bauman, play a few Jacobs tunes on her guitar.
Annie, at that time, was a Jacobs Songleader. And Annie, therefore, was my idol.
While I had never picked up a guitar, I grew up with Jewish music as the crux of my childhood Jewish identity. My Dad and I would jam to Rick Recht, Debbie Friedman, Craig Taubman and Dan Nichols on the way to school – yes, this was a unique perk of being the Rabbi’s daughter. I would sing these songs in Sunday School, at Temple Israel services and, of course, in the shower.
But nevertheless, my love for Jewish music would consistently skyrocket as soon as I heard the first strum of the Songleader’s guitar after our opening night fried chicken feast. Songsession was my opportunity to sing, laugh and grow with my cabin and camp community. I still remember the dances that Cabin Pikchim crafted for our favorite melodies.
And yet, I wanted to experience songsession on a deeper level. One night, I asked Annie to teach me a chord or two on her guitar. She chose “Sabbath Prayer,” a Jacobs traditional tune in which the entire staff blesses their campers with powerful lyrics of protection and faith. Little did I realize that the song was the simplest song for guitar—two chords over and over again. But, hey: I felt like a rock star!
Fast forward, and here I sit on the grounds of my second home for the thirteenth summer in a row. Here I sit as Jacobs’ head Songleader—a pinnacle I never imagined possible eight years ago in Annie’s cabin, or five years ago when my Chalutzim counselors entitled my superlative “Most Likely to be Jacobs’ Songleader.”
Jacobs essentially handed me my passion for songleading and Judaism. And now, I am ready to show it. I want to recreate the rush of enthusiasm and energy in the dining hall that I felt as a camper. I want to facilitate a kehillah kedoshah (holy community) through music. I want to connect to campers and help them find their own passions here at camp. And, like my counselor Annie, I am going to spend cabin prayers with every bunk to play their favorite songs.
Here I am to give back to Henry S. Jacobs Camp. And as I sit here planning songsessions, I can consistently feel the energy that Summer 2012 has cultivated thus far.