|Tzofim Inaugural Session - Olin-Sang Union Institute Camp |
June 1967 (Seated, all the way to the left, is the 12 year old
version of the author of this blog)
During the Friday morning service, faculty member Shira Kline asked us to pick up one of the fallen leaves at our feet during a service held just outside the Bayit, one of the original camp buildings. She asked us to find personal meaning in the leaf we held in our hands. I looked at the veins of the leaf I picked up. The vein system in the center of the leaf signified, for me, my story, talents, knowledge, and my family. There were four other smaller systems of veins, two on each side. I saw those as a symbol of the webs of relationships that emerged from wherever my family and I have lived and from the many conferences and workshops I have attended that created ongoing networks in the Jewish world. It was just a leaf that I was holding in my hand, but it was as if it alluded, in some way, to everything about my life.
|Lac La Belle from the OSRUI waterfront|
|Camp Director Jerry Kaye pays tribute to the Shabbat Shira|
Faculty: Ken Chasen, Merri Arian, Shira Kline, Julie Silver
and Josh Nelson
And...the rainbow? I caught a glimpse of a fading rainbow in Las Cruces on Wednesday, November 2, just hours before I made my way to El Paso to catch my flight early the next morning. It was fortuitous for me to see a rainbow 3 days before I was slated to read the verses in the Torah about the rainbow sign in Genesis Chapter 9 during the Shabbat morning service at Shabbat Shira. During the Shira Kline/Ken Chasen “Storahtelling” interactive presentation on the Torah reading, the rainbow was described as an indication of the compassion God would show the world. From that time on, God would be a Creator and Ruler who would lovingly establish for humanity a path which would guide us to be merciful to one another and supportive of each other, so that we can get through the best days of our lives with heartfelt celebration and endure the hard times with love and caring that could enhance, on a fundamental level, the character of the diverse communities in which we live. The rainbow is a promise and a beacon of hope. It carries with it dazzling colors that bring us momentary amazement. A rainbow is the result of the intersection of all of the right conditions to make it happen. Our charge and responsibility in our own lives is to create “rainbows” for ourselves and for people around us through all that we say and do.
Many thanks to faculty, staff, colleagues and friends at Shabbat Shira for their part in fashioning an overpowering rainbow of inspiration, wisdom, interconnection, new memories, spontaneously-generated musical textures, mutual support, and the realization that there is so much we can do to bring the rainbow back home.