The room is shaking, but it's shaking in the best kind of way. I am experiencing the way Shabbos ends at an NCSY Shabbaton - and never have I seen the Shabbos Malka receive a more royal sendoff.
The band is playing loudly, but even the mega speakers are competing for attention with over 300 super-charged voices, singing the songs I grew up with, singing the songs I sung throughout my years in camp and Yeshiva, but singing them with a heart and a feeling and an energy that I have never seen in any of those places.
These are not Yeshiva boys and girls, yet there is a spirituality shining on their faces, there is a fervor in their voices, and for one extraordinary evening, these kids are not merely connecting with each other like never before, but right now, it is easy to believe, that the purity of these young souls, is supporting the entire world. The world rests, we are taught, on three things: on Torah, on Avodah and on Gemilas Chassadim. It would have been an economy of words to simply say, “The world is supported by NCSY Shabbatons.” This entire weekend has been an extraordinary showcase of these three Middos.
At an NCSY Shabbaton, it is easy to believe.
Candle light flickers on two groups of kids, on either side of a dividing row of benches, concentric rings of girls and separate rings of boys are linked, arm-in-arm, and swaying to the rhythm of the song. Verses from Tehillim, Hallel, and Tefillah are passing their lips as the band transitions from song to song.
Love cannot be faked, and the spontaneous expressions of love, the tears, the smiles, the hugs and the intense singing, are as genuine and honest as anything I've ever experienced as a religious Jew. Tonight I am seeing Yiddishkeit in its purest form. There is no room for politics here; there is no place for posturing. It's all about these kids; it’s all about tightening the tie that binds us all. This entire weekend in fact, has been a celebration of authentic Judaism.