Voices from the field

We Learn Most From The Ones We Love

By Cari Schulman

It was 10pm on the first night of Shavu'ot and I was so excited to start. My mom told me it was time to go, so we began driving. I didn’t know where we were going, but that was nothing unusual for this unique night.

We showed up at a friend’s house and walked to the backyard. Set up on a gorgeous high ground overlooking Lake Michigan was a pitched tent. The sounds of the waves splashed against the rocks, and the smell of pines filled the thick spring air. We made ourselves comfortable and began our Shavu'ot.

We read poetry, we ate, we laughed, we ate, and we talked about the Torah. We laid under the stars asking questions and talking about life. Then, we ate some more. We did this until the early hours of the morning. Time both stood still and passed so effortlessly. This was my Shav'uot and I loved it.

These Shavu'ot adventures became a tradition between us. It was our version of the tradition of ‘staying up all night to pray.' In the traditional sense we didn't actually do any praying, but this time together was both an impactful learning experience and, well, holy. Whether it was hanging an Israel flag alongside an American flag on July 4, or convincing my mom that it’s not a good idea to bring in a truck full of sand to make our Passover Seder feel more authentic, these types of experiences always combined fun with "education," and made all the difference. We learn the most from the ones we love, and these small moments have a lasting impression beyond words.

My Jewish/Israel identity was formed completely in the home, and I look forward to our Shavu'ot adventure each year.