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Story Archives

Filtering by Tag: 2016-08-26

Shifting Focus

Jill Goldstein Smith

By Jill Goldstein Smith

From a bird’s eye view, Lake Shalom looks like a version of the State of Israel. There is a wooden swing on the lake, less noticed from above. When it rains enough, it is almost swallowed up by the muddied red clay. The sparkling lake was intentionally dug in its shape, a Jewish summer camp built up surrounding it. But it’s not the body of water in the midst of the North Georgia Mountains, on the edge of the Chattahoochee National Forest, which defines this space.

Sometimes I feel drawn to the lake – but it is rarely the lake that catches my attention once I arrive. I’m drawn to the laughter and cheers of children and their new friends; the splashes of rock skipping, narrowly avoiding the turtles swimming beneath the surface; the rainbow in between the mountains; the sound of acoustic guitars jamming outside the arts & crafts house; the glistening dewdrops evaporating off treetops hiding cabin porches draped in chlorine-soaked towels; the creaking of that wooden swing. I cannot help but focus, not on what is in front of me, but rather on what surrounds me.

Consider the artistic “negative space,” the area surrounding an object in an image. Equally as vital to the object itself, negative space brings balance to a composition. For a moment, consider beyond what is right in front of you.


What would you like to notice more of?


Jill Goldstein Smith is the Assistant Program Manager for the Foundation for Jewish Camp. She spent more than ten summers around Lake Shalom, as a camper and staff member at URJ Camp Coleman in Georgia.

This piece was created in partnership with the Foundation for Jewish Camp, whose mission is to help Jewish camps achieve their mission: to create transformative summer experiences – and the Jewish future.