Parashat Nitzavim: Looking Back and Thinking Forward | Camp Ramah Northern California

Parashat Nitzavim: Looking Back and Thinking Forward

By Alli Moses, Assistant Director

With a few weeks since the end of camp, I’ve had an opportunity to get some rest after a busy summer, settled back into my home and routine, reconnected with friends and family who I’ve missed while away at camp and begun to reflect on the summer we’ve just had. I think about all the memories we shared as a community, the friendships fostered, the lessons learned and the meaningful and transformative experiences we are each taking with us. The end of Kayitz 2021 marks a transition from summer into the school year for our chanichim (campers) and many of our tzevet (staff) members, from the reality of the last year into once again finding a new normal, and with the holiday of Rosh Hashanah right around the corner, from the outgoing year to the new year ahead. With a new beginning on the horizon, we pause to reflect and consider where we’ve come from and where we are going, as we open ourselves up to embracing what this year has to offer.   

In this week’s parsha, like us, B’nai Yisrael is at a pivotal point of transition, on the verge of a new beginning. After a long and arduous journey through the desert they finally reach the moment they have been waiting for. As they stand on the edge of the Jordan River waiting to enter the land of their dreams, Moshe delivers his final speech. He reminds the people of the potential consequences of their disregard for God’s commandments. Yet Moshe also encourages them by saying “It is not in the heavens…Rather, the thing is very close to you, in your mouths and in your hearts so that you can fulfill it” (Deut. 30:12-14). The responsibility of God’s Torah and commandments is in their hands, and it is up to them to choose what to do with it. Though at times it may be difficult, it is within their ability to obey. Moshe gives B’nai Yisrael an opportunity to reflect and contemplate what type of people they would like to be as they begin this new chapter in the land of Israel.  

It is so fitting that we read parshat Nitzavim as we prepare to celebrate Rosh Hashanah. As we get ready to enter a new year we take the time, both individually and communally, to reflect on our actions and decisions, thinking about the people we are and the people we want to become. As we begin 5782, I hope that we can all take some time to reflect on where we were just a few months ago, cherishing the true blessing of being able to have had camp in person, safely and successfully. I wish everyone a sweet and meaningful start to the year, leveraging the lessons, memories, and friendships from camp for a year of hope, inspiration, blessing, and growth. 
Shanah Tovah U’Metukah!