By Meredith Weprin, Director of Atzmayim
This summer Atzmayim was proud to present a musical based on our summer long theme: עֲשֵׂה לְךָ רַב, וּקְנֵה לְךָ חָבֵר (Find for yourself a Teacher. Acquire for yourself a Friend). This was a perfect opportunity for us to express what we learned this summer to all of the friends, mentors, and teachers within our camp community.
Over the course of the summer, we built a beautiful friendship with Joel Levinson, a member of Tzevet Shirah. After regularly attending our weekly Shabbat Z’mirot and Seudah Shlishit singing sessions, Joel realized how passionate the Atzmayim program was about music this summer. When we approached Joel with the idea of creating a musical for the Atzmayim program, he jumped on board and spent the next several weeks not only teaching us several songs about community and friendship but also creating an original song based on the words of our theme. The participants were overjoyed to have this opportunity to learn new songs and be able to showcase their own unique talents to the people important to us within camp.
Each participant contributed to the show. Charlie Paul, Lily Agbodza, Molly Katzman, and Sascha Paisner each had beautiful solos during their rendition of “Oseh Shalom” and the Carole King song, “You’ve Got a Friend.” Elijah Kantrow shared some insightful writing about what it takes to be a good friend while Jen Levin wrote and performed their own rap about the same subject. Nathaniel Kampeas had his own show stopping solo on the piano and helped play music throughout the show. Throughout the show we sang other chorus numbers including the aforementioned song written by Joel as well as “Yahad.” It was a spellbinding performance overall and was genuinely moving not only for the audience but for the participants themselves who were so proud of all of their hard work.
This musical was truly emblematic of our summer long theme. We found teachers not only from all of the people in the audience that night but also from within Atzmayim itself. Each participant has their own strengths and abilities to shine that are wholly unique to each individual. What really made the musical so special was to see how much they loved and supported one another as friends. As a community we created something bigger than ourselves and it was an experience that none of us will ever forget.