Camp Judah: Adventures on the Bus


“I can’t believe we’re here!” I exclaimed, looking directly at my best friend, Shoni.

“Camp Judah, here we come!” she yelled back, her voice trailing off and mixing into the rumble of the bus motor.

We were almost at our sleep-away camp — the one that Shoni and I had planned all year long to attend. We would hang out together, be best friends, be in the same bunk and go on sleepovers together. I looked out of my window and smiled happily.

Just then from the back of the bus I heard a scream. “OMG, Shoni, is that really you?”

“Dee! How’d you get here?”

I watched as the two of them giggled and hugged.

What about me? I wanted to jump off the bus and run home. Suddenly, I knew I would hate camp, and I didn’t want to go. Why was this new girl stealing my best friend away from me?

“Hi guys. I’m Sarah.” I said, waiting for Shoni to tell Dee how we were best friends; only that didn’t follow.

“I’ll come back up front soon, Sarah, go and wait.” Shoni said.

As I walked to the front of the bus, I noticed a few other girls had moved closer to Shoni and Dee. They were dressed with matching designer outfits and cute shoes just like Shoni and Dee. I heard laughing from the back of the bus, and I sat alone in my seat and stewed. These girls were perfect, I wasn’t. Dee knew how to talk to my friend, how to dress great and how to attract other girls around her easily. I didn’t. I was plain, boring and simple.

Then I began thinking about last year in school. We had had an art contest to see who could draw the most life-like portrait. My entry won, and everyone was so proud of me. I smiled, thinking about my talent. Just then, I heard the girls talking about that very same art competition.

Shoni blurted out “Sarah won that!” Dee looked at me and said, “I’m also into art, want to see some samples?”

Dee turned around and pulled out a few small cards with designs on them. They were colorful and cute. She handed me one.

“I love it!” I said, looking up.

Shoni looked at me and said, “Sarah, come sit closer.”

As I sat down next to the girls and laughed at their corny jokes, I realized that I had jumped to too many conclusions too quickly about Dee and the girls. And even about myself. I wasn’t a nobody, I had a talent. I smiled to myself happily. I was glad that I was able to see both myself and Dee with a good eye.

Discussion Questions
1. How do we benefit from taking time to see the whole person (with a good eye)?
2. Which way do you chose to look at someone? Do you notice yourself judging them right way?
3. In what way do we write people off quickly or tell ourselves, “Forget about them, they are never going to be my friends?”

Danielle Sarah Storch is a local freelance writer. “Shabbat Table Talk” is a monthly feature synthesizing Torah insights and lessons for children of all ages.

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