by A.J. (Abe) Rosenthal, Atzmayim Vocational Counselor
I’m captivated by sunsets. The sheer beauty of the colors mixing in the sky makes me stop, stare, and feel. To be honest, I don’t know what I’m feeling. Sunsets are such powerful events to me that I physically experience them. I love sunsets on their own and on my own, but the best part of looking at sunsets is being there to appreciate them with other people. Looking at the sunset with others is the perfect way to spend time, bond, and grow. While stunning, the sunset itself isn’t overwhelming or too consuming. It’s the perfect vessel to engage with the people around you.

One of my favorite things about my summer at Camp Ramah in Wisconsin is that every night, the sun magnificently sets over the lake to our west. We have the perfect view of the pinks, purples, oranges, blues, and yellows all combining in the sky and reflecting off the water. It’s simply enchanting. Yet luckily, I’m not the only one who’s been enthralled by the magic of the sunset. Through sheer shared interest and a lot of luck, a kehilah (community) of people who also appreciate the natural allure of the sunset meets along the lake every day at sunset to admire. In and of itself, this is an incredible and beautiful event, however, what makes it truly special is the kehilah and the conversations that take place within it.

Just like how every sunset is its own unique sunset, every evening the people that are there and the conversations that are had are distinct. This variation keeps our sunset club interesting, engaging, and fresh. It’s one of the things I most look forward to every day.

Arriving at the lakefront, the kehilah builds as the sun sinks towards the horizon. Slowly, the usuals filter in, sometimes bringing curious guests with them. Ultimately rounding out sunset club are the people randomly stumble upon the kehilah and are encouraged to join. Then the evening’s edition of the sunset club is set, and the conversations can begin.

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We talk about our goals for the week, what we’re appreciative of, or just how our days are going. It’s the perfect space to just exist with one other. It’s a support system that sort of just unexpectedly fell into my lap. A support system that really brings me joy and happiness.

Without each of us spontaneously arriving at the lakefront at the same time, sunset club wouldn’t exist. The joy brought to me and my friends from the experience of sunset club would be nonexistent. Seeing the sunset and proactively going towards it created a kehilah, and countless memories that will stay with me for years to come.

I hope that all of you are all able to find something that brings you as much joy and meaning as sunset club brings me. Be spontaneous. Chase a sunset. Explore a new area of your city that you’ve never seen before. Genuinely talk to people and be interested in what they have to say. After a long year and a half of being socially deprived because of COVID, now is the time to reconnect and reach out. Now is the time to make memories. All you need to do is put yourself out there.