By Cantor Steven Weiss, Eisner Camp faculty member from Congregation Sha’aray Shalom in Hingham, MA
One of the most wonderful parts of life at Eisner Camp is the opportunity to think creatively about worship and our connections to God. As a faculty member, the chance to spend time with campers and staff trying different models of daily worship is one of the highlights of my time here. This past Monday night I had the chance to lead our Chalutzim unit in a service called “How Prayer is Like Going Out to Dinner.” Together with Louis Stein, the counselor leading t’filah, I presented the different parts of the service as pieces of going out for a fine dinner.
When you arrive at dinner, you are greeted and welcomed by the host. In a prayer service, our opening songs present the opportunity to prepare ourselves for prayer. The opening section of the service in many ways can be compared to the appetizers that we enjoy when we dine out. Our campers’ clear favorite analogy was when I asked them, “What do we do if we don’t like the food?” They said “We leave the restaurant!” What a great introduction to the Mi Chamocha prayer, which celebrates our redemption. The Israelites left Egypt because the food was terrible and their treatment as slaves was even worse. The Amidah represents our main course, and so forth. It was a fun evening of learning and prayer, made even more special because it was taking place in the magnificent surroundings of camp.
When we are here as faculty, we have the good fortune to not only teach campers nearly every hour of the day but also to be part of their learning through worship.