For the past few days, I’ve been with high schoolers from all over New England at NFTY-Northeast’s Summer Institute, held at Eisner Camp in the Berkshires. It’s been such a great time.
Each morning and night, the participants and faculty all gather together for services. Last night, as we all sat together on the broad Universal Lawn, the service leaders invited the participants to go take a short walk during silent prayer. I have always found this technique a really effective one to conjure up those most personal prayers and reflections. As the participants wandered, I noticed a whole bunch of them headed toward the lake. There is something about getting to stare into some water that brings on a prayerful moment, I suppose. To get to look at something natural and beautiful, there is nothing quite like that to help us reflect on what’s really important in our lives.
In this Jewish month of Elul, as we enter into focused attention on ourselves and our relationships, we need spaces conducive to those reflections. The High Holidays are made all the more meaningful when we do that work now. Our participants, while at camp, get that space built into their experience here. Still, when we are able to craft that time and space in our regular work and home, we give ourselves a gift.
Where are those special places for each of us? And, are we spending time there right now?