BCI was more than a Californian kibbutz. It was intense, intentional, international, and incredible. It was 72 young Jews looking to connect, to themselves and to our shared histories, both to the Jewish and to the human.
We freed ourselves from the weight of the past, sharing intimate and difficult parts of our histories, and came to see that each one of us, no matter how pretty or dull-seeming, is so much more than he seems. So much more. We talked of depressions and Tourette syndrome, emotional abuse from parents, the deaths of loved ones, unrequited loves, social anxiety, and other issues in our Avodat Halevs, or Services From the Heart, a ritual in which two of the participants would stand up in front of the group after either flag raising or lowering, and share a part of themselves.
This is Kyle, one of my best friends from BCI. I took this photo of her on an afternoon walk to the House of the Book, a library/event hall that overlooks the Brandeis hills. Kyle was also in my music workshop. She left for Israel on Wednesday to begin a yearlong period of study at Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. Her ability to stay true to herself is an amazing example for me.
This photo was taken on the last morning of BCI; we had circled up for a closing ceremony, and as you can see, many of us were donning our BCI shirts designed by one of our own. Next to me is Brianna, a Los Angelan who goes to San Francisco State. One outstanding memory I have of us is practicing, and then performing, a dance set to "Let Me Go" by Sonya Kitchell, at one of the Saturday, post-Shabbat creative exhibitions.
Tonight, another Shabbat will begin. At BCI, Shabbat was one of the most precious times. We sang, danced, ate, sang some more, played, and performed. This evening I will likely be with a couple participants from the program, but it will be so different, so much less full than the other Shabbatot we experienced just a few weeks ago. I am frightened by this, but I know from BCI of the uncharted potential for Shabbatot in the future. Though I am, undeniably, a bit sad, I am hopeful, for through actualizing, I have discovered potential.