Shehecheyanu Moments: One Year Later
By Greg Kellner, Director of URJ 6 Points Sci-Tech Academy
I am sitting in the same spot and the same time, just one year later, looking back on an incredible first year and reeling with excitement about welcoming our campers and staff back to 6 Points this summer. At this time last year, 6 Points Sci-Tech was an idea (Look back at my blog from 1 year ago: http://6pointsscitech.org/?p=1420). There were lots of plans about how camp should look, and descriptions of ways activities would occur and how our campers would be cared-for while they were at camp. However, one year ago, none of it was real. Last summer was a summer of Shehecheyanu Moments: experiences that would happen for the very first time, and there were many.
Summer 2.0 Shehecheyanu Moments…
I just returned from a walk around a quiet Governor’s Academy, soon to be transformed into URJ 6 Points Sci-Tech, recalling laughter, singing “The Sun Song”, and of course the Boker Big Bang. I recalled those moments in the Ramon and Rosie dorms of campers sharing before bedtime how they lived a particular Jewish value that day or saw someone else do something great. Camp will come alive in two weeks and we will welcome hundreds of returning and new campers to camp. Once again there will be tons of Shehecheyanu moments… The first time we will be welcoming campers BACK to their summer home, the first time 200 campers will experience 6 Points, the first time campers will sleep in the Baer Dorm, the first time we will be using the larger Chadar Ochel (dining hall) at camp, the first July 4th carnival, the first group of 10th graders we have at camp, and the list goes on!
Make the Way for Generations Come and Go…
Just last night, I joined Sinai Reform Temple in Bay Shore, NY for their final Shabbat service. Sinai Reform’s members would go their separate ways to other synagogues on Long Island and say goodbye to their beloved rabbi and the community that was familiar to them for so long. I was invited to stand in front of the ark and receive a Torah on behalf of 6 Points Sci-Tech. Rabbi Emily Losben-Ostrov, recited the words to Debbie Friedman’s song The Youth Shall See Visions, “I have to make the way for generations come and go…” And as I held the Torah, I shared with the congregation that we would celebrate every Shabbat and every opening day with this Torah. I shared with them that this Torah symbolized the values that were live by in the Sinai Reform community and the values of camp. The values of the congregation would stay alive at camp through this Torah. Rabbi Emily led the congregation in the Shehecheyanu prayer, in this very special, bittersweet moment. We are so grateful for this incredible gift that we will cherish as a part of our community.
Returning to this Holy Place…
12 years ago, when I was head songleader at URJ Eisner Camp, I had the pleasure of writing a blessing with Rabbi Jeff Sirkman and my brother, Rabbi Rick Kellner. The words were Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech Haolam, Shehechzeranu Lamakom Hakadosh Hazeh, Blessed are you Adonai our God ruler of the Universe, who has returned us to this holy place. I cannot wait to sing this prayer with our full camp community, as we are returning together to create a unique Kehillah Kedosha, one where shared interests in science and technology brings us together as friends and a camp family, and a place where Judaism lives vibrantly and joyously.
I am looking forward to sharing many more firsts and celebratory moments of return here at 6 Points this summer.
Baruch atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech Haolam, Shehecheyanu, V’kiyemanu, V’higeyanu Laz’man Hazeh. Blessed are you Adonai our God ruler of the universe, who has given us life, has sustained us, and has enabled us to reach this season.