June 18, 2021

Final Pre-Shabbat Message

By Aaron Cantor

This time next week, and for the first time in 22 months, I’ll be sharing a Shabbat message with you while campers are physically here at EKC. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of Kabbalat Shabbat, with campers and staff singing in unison the words of Shalom Aleichem. For those who are not familiar, we partake in an elaborate finger tapping rhythm while we sing this prayer. With each verse we bring more energy as we go from using 1 finger on each hand, to 2 fingers on each hand, then finally clapping together as we repeat the first verse. I look forward to Shabbat each week – as it provides our entire community with a special opportunity for us all to connect to our Jewish roots and most important, to each other.

This week’s parsha, or Torah portion of the week, is Chukkat. Though it translates as “laws,” Chukkat is equally about the saga of a community in change. Almostly immediately after learning about the laws that delineate life from death, two key Israelite leaders die: Miriam and Aaron. These deaths bring changes to the Israelites camp in the wilderness. First, they lose Miriam, who provided them with the life-giving substance of water. Then, they lose Aaron, who helped lead religious ritual as a cohen, or priest.

These deaths and their consequences are a change to the Israelites. Frustrated, the people lament: “Why did you make us leave Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread and no water, and we have come to loathe this miserable food.”

Though change can be a challenge, it can also be an opportunity. This very idea has defined the past 22 months for us at Camp. Our team has been challenged with providing the same great EKC experience, without sacrificing the health and safety of our community. The opportunity that we find ourselves with on Sunday, is welcoming 275 campers back to EKC, with expectations higher than ever. Our entire staff team is ready to rise to that challenge and remind everyone involved that at EKC, “We Are Family.”

If you missed our blog post about “Being Jewish at Emma Kaufmann Camp”, you can check it out here: Being Jewish at Emma Kaufmann Camp


Shabbat Shalom and see you Sunday.