How Do You Get Ready for Shabbat in Just 30 Minutes?
By Michael Levi
There’s nothing more stressful than running from the shuk to your cabin, smelling like a falafel to take a shower and get ready in half an hour at most. I’ve dealt with a lot of stressful times in my life; most of them were in the army. But it’s nothing compared trying to find your Shabbat shirt while you’re in line for the showers and trimming your beard (if you have one of course).
As you head back to your cabin, you’re asking yourself “why did I leave the Israeli Village so late? I could already be dressed and ready!” But then you remember that you chose to stay to dance, to eat the Latkes (oh.. those Latkes) and to see your friends in other villages as the ENTIRE camp packs into the Israeli Village, waiting in line for snacks or waiting to hear their favorite Israeli pop song (that you as an Israeli know and don’t really like). Suddenly you feel it, the vibrations in the air, how from a whirlwind of a week and the anticipation of Shuk, to the sometimes-chaotic moment when everyone is first allowed to enter the Shuk, it quickly transforms into one big family gathering. People of all genders and ages are there with the same goal of eating latkes, dancing, singing and getting excited right before Shabbat!
Being a specialist at Chi the past two summers, I have been both new and a returning specialist. A lot of people say returning is easier than the first year, but I beg to differ; returning is being anxious, being thrilled to see what’s changed, wondering if the campers remember me and hoping the experience will it be as good as last year.
From my perspective and many will agree with me, there’s something special about camp, something you can’t tell your friends because they’ll think you’re crazy. They would be in shock if you say that you actually enjoyed being in a cabin full of campers and three other staff members from all around the world! They will ask a million questions but won’t understand the answers. They won’t understand how can you be on top of the zipline or the aerial adventure course for two hours and have the best time of your life (and that is only as a Ropes staff member)! As a Shaliach you feel pride on Shabbat, in the Amphitheatre, as you know the words to the prayers while the British staff members are jealous. You get to educate not just the other staff, but the campers about things that are so important like who David Ben Gurion is, about famous Israeli athletes like Omri Caspi, and what the differences are between the army brigades and corps.
So how do you get ready for Shabbat in 30 minutes? How do you get yourself to the courts in time to see everyone and take pictures like the one above of myself and the rest of the 2018 Schlichim every Friday? The secret is based on a miracle we are celebrating right now. The secret, my friends, is in the Latkes.
Shabbat Shalom and Happy Hanukkah from Israel!
Michael Levi has been a member of the ropes team for the past two summers. Michael is from Or Akiba in Israel. When Michael was in the army, most of his time was spent as a Military ICU commander, supervising 12 combat medics and 12 paramedics in the Jordan Valley, whose goal it was to save lives at every event where their services were called upon, whether it was a car accident or terror attack. Outside of camp, Michael spent almost a year in a Kibbutz where he was the counselor for the kids, and now is focusing on his studies. Among his favorite hobbies are climbing (hence the ropes course), producing electronic music and playing soccer with friends. Micahel is also one of the Shlichim, a group of staff from Israel hired, not only to provide a high-quality and safe experience in their areas, but also responsible for bringing Israel to camp at every level, imbuing Israeli culture into the Chi culture.