Shabbat at Camp Chi
By Tess Adelstein, CTC Secretary
Every week at Camp Chi, without fail, is spent counting down the days and hours until we all get to come together and celebrate Shabbat as one big Camp Chi community. This routine has stayed the same for generations of Camp Chi summers, no matter how different the Shabbat or song session looked. Even just the thought of being able to come together as one and celebrate Shabbat and the following song session lights up any camper or counselors day. No matter the decade, Shabbat at Camp Chi is the highlight and capstone of each and every amazing week under the sun. I thought it’d be fun to reminisce on the past of Camp Chi Shabbats in support of our very own CTC Teen Song Session happening this Sunday, April 18!
Over the years, especially recently, Camp Chi’s grounds and buildings have gone through many remodels and upgrades. Despite this, the one thing that hasn’t changed is the love and passion that burns in the core of the Camp Chi community. A lot of the traditions that were started during the earlier decades of Camp, are still lovingly done today. Like the importance of the song “Circle” by Harry Chapin. As we all know today, song session isn’t song session without finishing it off with the customary “All my life’s a circle” song and hand movements. While the song might’ve not closed out every song session in the 70’s and 80’s, there wasn’t a song session that went by without the rush of ruach being felt all throughout the evening.
Everyone knows the five S’s of every Shabbat at Camp Chi; Shuk, Showers, Schmooze, Service, Song Session. These are the pillars of every fabulous Friday celebration that makes Shabbat the way it is. Whether this was shown by the black and white photos from years ago we see of campers gathered all together to celebrate the end of an amazing week at Camp Chi, or through the memories we hold of a meaningful Shabbat service, and going all out at song session with our best friends. All of these memories hold a special place in the Camp Chi history book and in our hearts.
While, yes, the fancy clothes and the yummy food we get on Shabbat make the day very special, they aren’t what makes Friday’s as loved and cherished as they are to the Camp Chi community. It’s really the time we get to spend together, celebrating both our Jewish heritage and Camp Chi culture, alongside some of the most important people in our lives as one. Every member of the camp community holds Shabbat and song session in a very special place in their hearts and the only other individuals that truly understand and can empathize with the longing we feel during the school year for a good “Chi, Chi, Chi” and the chance to walk into the amphitheater holding hands with your cabin are fellow Camp Chi goers.
If you’re missing the feeling of a good Song Session as much as we clearly are, this is your chance to get a little Shabbat fix in before we get to all come together and do it for real at camp in a few weeks. This Sunday, April 18, CTC will be holding a Teen Led Song Session over Zoom, led by teens, for teens (and any adults that want to come too!). We have so many amazing videos of fellow Camp Chi campers playing and singing your favorite Song Session songs for you to tune into and celebrate with many other individuals that understand just how important these songs and traditions are. The link to sign up is in the bio of our Instagram, along with a link you can use to donate to our event benefiting the Camp Chi Centennial. It will truly be an evening to remember and a great way to start the countdown to the beginning of the summer, you won’t want to miss it!