Rabbi Josh Bennett is from Bloomfield Hills, Michigan where he serves as a rabbi at Temple Israel. He will be joining the URJ 6 Points Sports Academy community for his 5th summer during Session 3. Rabbi Josh is a lifelong camper and brings tremendous enthusiasm to camp. You can find him leading our Running with the Rabbis elective each afternoon!
Over the next few weeks, students around the country are taking their last exams as another school year comes to an end. It makes me remember my own school days and the many skills I learned in math, English, social studies, and science classes. Thinking back, I can’t help but remember the words of Robert Fulghum who wrote the poem, “All I Really Need To Know, I Learned In Kindergarten”.
But, in our house, I can actually feel the energy change as we move from Spring to Summer and the endless days of sun and fun. For us, this time also marks the transition from “School Days” to “Camp Weeks”. The excitement builds as we all get ready for another summer at 6 Points Sports Academy. In our house, this time of year means that Spring Baseball is finished and Soccer Season is over…and it is time to get packed for camp.
In many ways, this transition is similar to the Havdalah service we celebrate every Saturday night in Jewish life. But rather than moving from the special feeling of Shabbat back into a regular week, this summertime Havdalah takes us from a routine year in school and sports teams to the incredible feelings that camp brings. I believe that this Havdalah is the most important separation in my year.
This summer, one of the core values of 6 Points is Intention – Kavannah. The Havdalah experience gives us the perfect chance to focus our intention on this transition to camp. Getting ready for camp is more than just packing our bags and bringing enough sunscreen. The middah of Intention requires us to “really” get ready on a spiritual level as well. We need to prepare to be part of a sacred community with true kavannah. Camp is a place where people feel warmly welcomed and where everyone counts. It is a place where we intentionally do the right thing on the field because it makes the team better. Getting ready for camp means preparing to be the best teammates we can be…every day…every practice session…every game…every meal…and every night in the dorm.
You see, everything I Really Need To Know, I learned at Camp, not school. It was there that I discovered my best friends and it was at camp that I met my wife! So, as we move through this summertime Havdalah with Kavannah – Intention, don’t forget to prepare spiritually as you pack your bags. It will pay off when we see each other soon at the greatest Jewish sports camp on earth.