“To those who created, cared for, and brought the food, thank you. To the ground that was watered by the farmer, thank you. To the driver that drove the food to Great Barrington, thank you. To those who prepared the meal, thank you. I appreciate all the people that helped to bring us food.” – Lara Wohlstetter, bunk 18
At camp, we bless our food at every meal. We begin with HaMotzi (the blessing over bread) and end with a blessing after meals, either Birkat HaMazon or Brich Rachama. We sing it with ruach and special camp hand motions…but we haven’t spent a lot of time looking at the meaning of those blessings in years past. This year, we did.
On the first full day of camp, every camper in camp learned about the themes and message of the Birkat HaMazon. They traced the path of a meal “from farm to table,” considering all of the people, forces of nature, and God’s role in putting food on their tables. They explored what it means to “eat and be satisfied,” beyond filling our bellies. And they learned about how we use food to take care of one another.
Each camper also had an opportunity to meet members of kitchen staff and talk to them about their lives outside of camp. We learned how to say hello and thank you in languages such as Czech, Polish, and Hungarian. We learned about the music they enjoy and what careers they are studying for. We gratitude for the people who nourish us every day and the for the food we eat.
Finally, every camper wrote their own prayer of gratitude. This summer’s new tradition is reading one of these prayers in place of the traditional blessing after eating at one meal each day. This way, we are reminded of the intention behind our prayer. We hope that this attitude of gratitude will impact our summer experience and beyond. We believe that this personal reflection will create deeper meaning and connection to our prayers.