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Effortless Shabbat

by Rabbi Anne Persin, Moshavah Segel (Faculty)

I love Shabbat–just ask my congregants. As a rabbi, however, I spend most of my time putting a lot of effort into making Shabbat for others. There are few places in this world that make Shabbat feel so authentic that no matter how much I have to do, it still feels effortless: Jerusalem, my friend Malik’s house, Mission Minyan in San Francisco & camp. Specifically, OSRUI. We segel (faculty) work very hard here at camp especially for and on Shabbat. We prepare t’fillot (services) and guide chanichim (campers) and madrichim (counselors) in reading Torah, Haftarah, and other parts of the service. We search for the perfect story to tell at circle and write Shabbat morning d’rashot (sermons) meant to inspire a greater sense of how blessed we are to be at camp. We sing and dance and cheer and play with the chanichim from our eidah (unit) while reconnecting with colleagues, congregants, and chanichim from our past. And yet, even with all of the work we do, Shabbat feels effortless. Here, Shabbat arrives to every corner and every nook without hesitation, without question. At camp, Shabbat is not something that I have to make because, at camp, Shabbat is something that simply is–in its purest and most authentic form. Just imagine one full day, from sundown to sundown, where you get to sing, share, eat, play, pray, rest, and be with people you love. This is Shabbat at camp.

By the way, this Shabbat was particularly fantastic as not only was Dan Nichols with us for an amazing concert celebrating the 60th anniversary of OSRUI, but this was the first Shabbat ever that Congregation B’nai Torah had an official Shabbat photo and, not so coincidentally, this was my first Shabbat back at camp in five years. It has been too long. Thank you, OSRUI, for being a place where Shabbat continues to be.

Rabbi Anne Persin is the Rabbi Educator at Congregation B’nai Torah in Highland Park, IL, and is serving as one of the faculty members in Moshavah Bet.

  • Leah Axelrod

    Thanks for this.

    No wonder those of my kids that were campers felt so special about camp and Shabbat. I don’t think even now they could explain it, but you have.

    Seeyou soon!