Blog  The Magic of Havdalah

The Magic of Havdalah

By Lauren Rubenstein, Swim Instructor

I am home!  As I landed in Greensboro, I experienced a sense of calmness and happiness.  URJ 6 Points has been my summer home for four years now, and I look forward to my return each summer!  Camp allows me to slow down, unplug, and share my love of swimming with my campers.  Camp allows me to be surrounded by sports and by Judaism at the same time.  My favorite time of camp is when, after playing hard all week in our respective sports, the whole camp comes together as one family, mishpacha, and welcomes in Shabbat.

From the moment we break from electives and go back to our dorms for our Shabbat preparation, I again experience a sense of calmness and happiness.  There is a distinct mood change around camp.  The mood becomes lively, relaxed, and even invigorating. After a week of training, Shabbat allows the camp to rest, renew, and have fun together as a dorm.  We pray together during Kabbalat services and encourage those in our kehillah who have the gevurah to get up and read from the Torah on Saturday mornings. After Saturday morning services, the camp spends time engaging in activities that promote dorm bonding and forging friendships.

After a great 24 hours, we enter my favorite ceremony, Havdalah.  Havdalah marks the end of Shabbat and the beginning of a new, fresh, exciting week.  This “separation” closes out the Sabbath as we now welcome in our new week.  Havdalah is designed for a person to use all five senses:  we taste the wine (grape juice), smell the spices, see the flame of the candle and feel its heat, and finally, we hear the blessings and the extinguishing of the flame in the wine to officially close Shabbat.  We celebrate with s’mores at our campfire and a lively song session in the Moadon.

In just a short 12 days we meet, become fast friends for life, train like beasts, and enjoy a different pace from our daily lives.  We are inserted into a family that is like no other, a family that you look forward to seeing all year long, a family who you sweat, eat, play and pray with.  With the close of Shabbat, I’ll say: Game On and Shavuah Tov!


  • Janice Lipson

    Lauren, Thank you so much for this message. We are Caroline’s Mom and Dad, Janice and Alan Lipson. She has been looking forward to her first time at sleep away camp all year. I see from the photos that she is having a great time. Thank you for giving her coaching and guidance.
    Janice and Alan

  • Marsha Arias

    I love your heartfelt description. Sophia and Ethan also look forward to all of this throughout the year. Thank you for making me feel just a bit closer to all of you while reading this.

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