By Jenna Reed, Mitzvah Corps Pacific Northwest II 2016 Participant
When I was eight years old, I taught myself how to play the guitar. Most of the songs I would play were pop and country songs from the radio. Once I became comfortable with the music, I began experimenting with singing. Although my family and friends encouraged me to perform, I was always too shy to do it.
But after watching Elliot play the guitar at our Shabbat service last week, I remembered how much I missed playing. That night, I asked him if I could borrow his guitar. I brought it into the secluded area by my room and started playing with a few of my friends. With much persuasion, they somehow convinced me to sing.
As I continued to play, more and more people came to listen. What started as three friends playing in the hallway turned into half of Mitzvah Corps Pacific Northwest jamming in the hallway with me. We were in the girls’ hallway of our dorm, and my friends begged me to go downstairs so everyone could hear the music. I told them I would only go if I just played the guitar, and everyone would have to sing with me. Before I knew it, everybody was gathered around, listening to me sing. It was really difficult to strum because my hands were shaking so much. As my friends started to dance and sing along, my nerves calmed and I finally began to enjoy myself.
I don’t know if anything will come of this experience, but I do know that it was the most excited and terrified I have ever been, and I wouldn’t have wanted to experience that with anyone else. The community we’ve built together here has made moments like this feel possible when they never have before and I know that this is something I’ll take with me long after our time together here in Seattle comes to a close.