As a way to connect to your young people and share the magic of camp with the entire community, there are many different ways to make camp part of your Shabbat worship experience. We share a few of our favorites with you.
1. Include a camp-themed D’var Torah. Invite a member of your community who can provide a testimonial to the impact of camp: a camper, a parent, former camper, a congregant who has served as a camp staff member, a member of the board, or a Temple staff member who has spent time on faculty at camp.
2. Invite a representative of the camp staff to your congregation to celebrate. Our Directors and Assistant Directors are always happy to visit! They can be available to visit with families before or after services, speak to the congregation as a bimah guest or to help plan your camp Shabbat celebration.
3. Incorporate camp music or creative arts into your worship. Have campers from your congregation work with your Cantor or songleader to choose their favorite songs from camp worship to include in the service. You might event consider inviting a songleader from camp to join your service. Create a camp song list that families can take home with them. Choose a few prayers to highlight and ask campers to interpret them through art, dance or creative reading.
4. Plan a camp-themed Oneg. This will be fun for all ages. S’mores are always a huge hit with the entire congregation! Invite your campers to help plan the menu and participate in serving the food. Create a camp recipe card with fun recipes families can take home with them. Play the camp video as people are coming into the social hall and make the camp brochure or other giveaways available.
5. Create a camp-themed give away. Send families home with a camp-themed care package that might include a flashlight, hat, bug spray or other fun items. Consider printing a t-shirt or hat that says “We love Camp at our Congregation” that your congregants will enjoy wearing.
6. Encourage everyone to wear their camp t-shirt or other camp clothing. Everyone will enjoy the special opportunity to come to temple wearing something different. Hold a contest and give prizes that are camp themed.
7. Create a slideshow or video to show during the service or during an Oneg. Showcase photos or videos of your Temple’s campers in action at camp. This can also be used throughout the year on your website, at youth group events and in religious school classrooms.
8. Make a camp collage. Have congregants, clergy and staff bring old camp photos and display them. This can be a fun game of guess who is who.
9. Invite anyone who will go to/went to a Jewish camp this summer up to the bimah to lead the blessings over candles, wine, and challah. Also take the opportunity to bless them – either that they may have a great summer or in celebration of the great summer they had.
10. Incorporate a camp tradition. Have a Shabbat stroll from the lobby to the sanctuary, or gather for Kabbalat Shabbat and enter the sanctuary together. Teach the congregation Shabbat claps, or provide everyone with a white bandana to teach about wearing white on Shabbat. Get creative and think about ways to share your favorite camp traditions.
11. Hold your Shabbat service outside. Use your congregation’s courtyard or a nearby park. This can be a great opportunity to discuss the importance of nature in Jewish tradition.
12. Crowd source new ideas! Share your thoughts and ideas for bringing camp home to your congregation in the comments below, on our Facebook page or on Twitter (#CampShabbat).