Many people, young and old, for whatever reason - by circumstance of birth or by choice - have a need for a sense of community. Last year, I put down my camera and joined in the Havdalah service pictured here, the ceremony celebrating, with candles and music and song, the end of Shabbat, which is the Jewish version of the Christian Sabbath. This year I kept my distance and yet was able to enjoy the service, too, with my photography.
I think I grew up without a strong sense of my own community - my parents came from different backgrounds and our shared celebrations were few - so perhaps that is why I can enjoy, if only vicariously (and often with a camera) communities not my own.
This somewhat unusual Havdalah - unusual by nature of its location - was held, not in a synagogue, rather in the beautiful campground Point Mugu State Park, along the southern California coast. My purpose was to serve as chief cook and bottle washer, in addition to my self-created role as informal documentarian of the weekend retreat, conducted for a group of families who obviously enjoy sharing and celebrating their own sense of community, and have made this outdoor Havdalah an annual event.