As always Shabbat at CYJ is full of ruach (spirit), white shirts, the not-to-be missed coffee cake and a more relaxed schedule. If you haven’t been to camp on Shabbat in a few years, you might be surprised to see over 400 campers, staff and visitors dressed in their Shabbat best crowded into the chadar ochel. And with more campers, comes more fun, and more… well, noise. During the week, counselors and specialists can use microphones, amazing sound systems and the ever-present wi-fi to enhance peulot or almost any activity. But on Shabbat, we not only slow down and change the schedule; we also fully embody one of the five pillars of Young Judaea, pluralism. We want everyone to feel like Shabbat belongs to them, no matter what kind of Jewish practice they have at home. To embrace the whole Jewish community, CYJ boasts the largest kosher kitchen in the Southwest and also keeps the laws of Shabbat. Among other things, this means not using technology in public space. Traditionally, at camp, this included not using sound systems or microphones on Shabbat… until this summer.
With a generous grant from the Houston Federation, CYJ purchased and started using a Shabbat microphone in the chadar ochel during Shabbat meals. Typical microphones have lights that flash, on-off switches, electric currents, and respond to our voices, all technology that is not allowed on Shabbat according to traditional Jewish law. Using technology developed by the Zomet Institute, our new Shabbat microphone uses timers, transistors, has no indicator lights , and the controls are locked on Shabbat . The Tzomet Institute has developed other Shabbat-friendly technology that has been widely accepted, such as Shabbat elevators. Shabbat Microphones, like the one at CYJ, are in use in Modern Orthodox synagogues throughout North America.
But what does a Shabbat Microphone mean for CYJ Texas? CYJ constantly balances between keeping traditions and being innovative. The Shabbat microphone is the perfect mix. We keep camp Shabbat traditions like singing, Tefillah, Services, and Ruach, Spirit while also welcoming our growing numbers of campers and staff.
Shabbat Shalom Ya’ll!