A Shabbat for Shehecheyanu
This past week was momentous for our 100th summer. In the midst of a pandemic, because of the diligence of hundreds of campers and staff and their family members, we were able to end the pod period and transition to a more traditional camp feel. A true shehecheyanu moment indeed.
As of Tuesday, we began to limit when masking was required, limiting it to indoors with those from outside your pod. Now, as we walk through camp, we can smile at one another, and not just with our eyes. We can connect with each other with a simple warm hello or good morning.
Wednesday began the first specialties of the summer, and the first specialties at Chi since 2019. Another shehecheyanu for sure. Campers, having gotten a taste of so many activities, were able to select the ones they wanted to focus on, and staff were able to develop curriculum based on multi-day lessons for the same groups of participants.
Today we said goodbye to our Take 2 campers. While they were at Chi for only 13 days, the tears streaming down many of their faces as they boarded the bus, and the sobs from their friends and counselors saying goodbye pulled at our heartstrings. It goes to show that it is not the length of your stay or the programs you participate in, but the people you are with that make the Camp Chi Magic. As those tears fell, we said not goodbye, but shehecheyanu and see you soon.
While we won’t necessarily say that we have taken the previous 99 summers for granted, the progress we made this week has made us appreciate what was “normal” to us for so long. The friends we make, the interactions we have, the connections we form and the bonds we forge are what we will celebrate this Shabbat. Not by pod, but safely with the entire kehilla as we say not just Shabbat Shalom, but also shehecheyanu.
The shehecheyanu is a common Jewish prayer said to mark special events and occasions. The full translation is “Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of all, who has kept us alive, sustained us, and brought us to this season.”