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Shabbat at Impact: DC Jam 2

Posted on 07/19/2010 @ 11:46 AM

Impact: DC Jam 2

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I’m Merrit Corrigan from Plano, Texas and I want to share a little bit about my first Shabbat here at Impact DC JAM- because it was one of the most incredible and memorable Jewish experiences I have ever had.

Shabbat started Friday night in typical BBYO fashion; girls and boys dressed all fancy, flashing cameras trying to capture the moments for Facebook later, and sitting down in a circle for services. However, unlike usual, there was no urge to rush through services to get to the next program. This Shabbat was a place where everyone felt comfortable and excited to express Judaism differently but together in our pluralistic community.

Friday night services consisted of praying, singing, twirling to the Miriam song, and ended dancing down the stairs for our tasty Kosher dinner. The best part of the evening was our “no-mic night” that was a Shabbat friendly way for all us Jammers to express ourselves. People sang, recited slam poetry, played music, and I even slipped in my infamous “bunny story.”

Saturday was even more amazing. The group split for morning services. I ended up attending the conservadox services at DC Minyan. I initially had some difficulty following without my comfort zone of Hebrew transliterations to fall back on, but everyone was so helpful. Staff and participants guided me (and others who typically worship differently) through the prayer book to make it easy for all of us. The congregation welcomed PANIM with open arms and I got the honor of opening and closing the arc!

After free time in Georgetown, dinner, and a song session, the evening wrapped up with a havdallah service on the National Mall in front of the Lincoln Memorial. It truly was one of the most overwhelming experiences I have ever had. Feeling so comfortable and connected to the people around me is really the only layer I can actually explain. I felt so blessed to be in a country where I can express my religious beliefs and mix them with my government and culture. Tears collected in everyone’s eyes and ran down our checks as we realized that this is a moment that should make us proud to be Jewish Americans (or American Jews which ever way you feel).

As we opened our eyes and our voices stopped chanting the prayers, we were asked to call out some words that would help us describe the beautiful service we were leaving behind. These words not only applied to havdallah but DC Jam as a whole, it truly makes us feel:

“GRATEFUL”, “JEWISH”, “LOVED”, “FREE”, and, of course, “POWERFUL”

Merrit

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