As the song leaders strummed “Bring Me a Rose,” Session 2 flowed into formation for the Shabbat Stroll Friday evening. An iconic Tawonga tradition, the stroll stretches from Ridge to River sides of Camp, picking up smiling campers along the way. With everyone singing and walking in unison, the feeling of coming together as one harmonious community is truly magical!
After a day of swimming at the pool and exploring floats, Tawonga dresses up for one of Camp’s most special nights. With arms around friends and a refreshed energy in the air, the Shabbat Stroll makes its way to the dining pavilion, where campers and staff share exuberant greetings. “On deck” at the spruced up dining tables is Shabbat blessings and the Tawonga classic “Sabbath Prayer” from Fiddler on the Roof, followed by a delicious Shabbat meal, complete with freshly baked challah and topped off with Shab-bobler (Shabbat cobbler). Campers look forward to this meal all week!
Tawonga programming fosters connections between bunks and units, but Shabbat is the time for all of Camp to come together as one big community. This Shabbat was our first of the summer with campers, and at Freilach (Shabbat song session), the ruach (spirit) was infectious! Dancing to classics like “Home,” “Dancing Queen” and “Miriam’s Song,” Session 2 spirits were high going into Unit Kabbalat Shabbat to close out the night.
Shabbat being a time of rest, campers spent a leisurely Saturday enjoying a “sleep-in” bagel breakfast followed by our first Torah service of the session at Makom Shalom (Place of Peace), Tawonga’s beautiful outdoor sanctuary. Campers engage in Judaism at Tawonga as a “buffet” — trying out what feels good for them. Some campers celebrate Shabbat at home every week while others may be experiencing their very first Shabbat this weekend. All levels of observance are welcome and accepted, with the goal of campers experiencing spiritual moments at Camp and connecting to their Jewish identities.
Next up campers ventured around Camp for Shabbat floats and rotations followed by an epic talent show and Havdalah to close out this very special Shabbat. This Havdalah, SCITs belted out silly sing-alongs and call-and-response tunes. The sizzle of the Havdalah candle symbolized the end of Shabbat and the approaching end of campers’ first full week at Tawonga.
The first full week of Session 2 was an absolute blast, seeing campers reconnect with their Tawonga roots and begin growing new ones. We cannot wait for two more weeks with this fantastic bunch!
Check out today’s Tawonga Tidbit!
Below, enjoy photos from days 5-8 of Camp!