We spent the other Shabbat among some 15,000 fellow campers in the Santa Fe National Park, in New Mexico, at the Rainbow Gathering.

This gathering has been taking place every year since 1972. The bulk of the attendees are hippies from all over the country, joining together to live the hippie dream of peace and love. It is completely normal for people to walk around here in a chemically altered state of mind.

Understandably, many of the people here are searching for more meaning in their lives and it is common to randomly engage strangers in philosophical or religious conversations. The people we met were open to talk and many of them approached us with questions.

Our goal was to camp out together with some other Jewish campers who had set up a Jewish camp a few days prior to our arrival. Finding our campsite was difficult. There were lots of cars and parking was scarce. We had to rely on the directions of random passersby, and each person we asked gave us conflicting directions. One guy suggested we walk forty-five minutes up the hill, make a left at the meadow, and follow the path down the hill and there we would see a man with long hair and he could give us the next set of directions. We listened. In all, we ended up schlepping 200 lbs of stuff (camping gear, kosher food, prayerbooks, etc.) approximately seven miles through dense forest, stopping to don tefillin and talk with people on the way.

Even before we arrived, we knew that it would be a special Shabbat. Everyone was warm and friendly. "Welcome home" and "lovin' ya" were the most common words we heard. We caught on pretty quickly and soon we were spreading the love and talking with everyone we met

We arrived at the camp site one hour before Shabbat with just enough time to set up our tent and briefly meet our fellow campers.

Shabbat was spent praying, learning, talking and of course feasting.

We met all types: Jews who knew that they were Jewish, Jews who did not think that they were Jewish, and non-Jews who thought that they were. Whenever we spoke, people would gather around and listen to the Chassidic thoughts and Torah teachings that we shared. We had to wait until noon on Shabbat day before we were able to begin since there was a "moment" of silence all morning (six hours to be precise) in honor of world peace. Once that was done, we were back in business, chatting up random strangers.

It is an incredible experience to be able to talk so deeply and honestly with people we never met before. The openness was incredible and the entire experience is something that we could have scarcely imagined back in Brooklyn.

Peace out!