During the months leading up to CLTC 5, I dreamed of all the amazing people I would meet, the fun activities I would participate in, and the leadership skills I would gain, but what I left those 12 remarkable and life-altering days with goes far beyond any of the expectations I initially had. Growing up and going to Hebrew School, I never put much thought into my religion. While I would look forward to the food at holiday dinners, I would think of attending services as a chore, and I remember my Bat Mitzvah mainly for the party. CLTC truly opened my eyes to how special and enriching practicing Judaism can be.
Daily Shacharit, Havdalah Services, and Shabbat Services ended up being some of my favorite parts of CLTC. Everyone practices their Judaism differently, and that is one of the things that makes our religion so special. At CLTC, it doesn’t matter if you are conservative or reform, or whether or not you know all of the prayers. Everyone is there for the same reason: to make new connections. I went into CLTC knowing very few songs and prayers and now I catch myself singing V'ahavta in the shower. Being in nature surrounded by amazing people creates a spiritual environment like no other. The leadership staff was amazing and their passion for BBYO and Judaism was so inspiring.
Now, 3 months after CLTC, my newfound passion for Judaism continues to evolve. I have taken it upon myself to volunteer at my Hebrew school and help teach little kids about all of the special traditions and values that Judaism has to offer. I want to pass the torch and help more Jewish youth partake in meaningful Jewish experiences. CLTC has introduced me to a new part of myself that I thought I would never find. The friends, the memories, and the connection to Judaism that I gained on CLTC are truly irreplaceable.
Alex Damast is a BBG from Nassau Suffolk Region and she is Summit BBG's Mazkirah.
All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.
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