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Where Shabbat Meets the School of Rock:
Nov. 18, 2010
Camp Appreciation Shabbat at Shaaray Teflila, NYC
By Hope Chernak, Director of Youth and Informal Education, Temple Shaaray Tefila

On Friday, November 12, our congregation celebrated Shabbat and embraced the power of Reform Jewish camping.


Prior to services, URJ camp representatives, past campers, our clergy, and educators met interested families for an informational session.  Shaaray Tefila campers participated in Kabbalat Shabbat with selected readings.  Parents of our campers led the blessings for candles and wine.  One of our rabbis, a URJ camp alum, delivered the sermon on the impact of Reform Jewish camping.  The joyous music of our camps uplifted our worship, led by our cantors, our adult choir, Kol Rinnah and our junior choir, Shaaray School of Rock (24 students strong!) accompanied by a band and guitars.  We rocked out our love and passion for camp!  Our high school youth group, TaSTY was represented on the bima and participated in readings.  Religious School kindergarten and first graders participated in the service as well, and learned about URJ Eisner and Crake Lake Camp during their Shabbat dinner following services.  During our Oneg, a TV played a camp DVD, and those with camp experience wore a specially created “I LOVE CAMP” button so members could easily ask questions. 


At Shaaray Tefila we see Jewish camping as integral part of lifelong learning. With this firm commitment, we offer a 25% subsidy to each of our URJ campers each summer.


During our service, one camper shared, “Before I went to camp, my family didn’t really celebrate Shabbat.  We’d go to Friday night services sometimes, and Bar or Bat Mitzvah celebrations some Saturday mornings, but that’s about it.  But once I went to Crane Lake Camp, I learned what Shabbat is really about - having fun with your friends, doing Jewish prayers and singing Jewish songs.”


Our Friday evening program, service, dinner, and oneg helped us share the joys and success of camp with our synagogue community, especially giving our younger families an opportunity to speak one on one to alumni and representatives


For more information or details about the recruitment program, contact Hope Chernak at hchernak@tstnyc.org    

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