A couple of months ago I had the pleasure of reading a very touching piece by Dr. Oliver Sacks z”l in the New York Times. In the piece, the world-renowned neurologist reflects on his youth growing up in a traditional Jewish home and having Shabbat with his family. He shares the heart-wrenching story of his leaving that world. Through a turn of events before the end of his life, he revisits Shabbat with family. About this rediscovery he writes:
As we get ready for Rosh HaShanah, we get ready to hear the blasts of the Shofar associated with the Jewish New Year. In comparison, I think about the ruckus I hear every time I go visit a Jewish summer camp. Both are loud and disruptive. But while the sound of camp always fills my heart with joy, the shofar often evokes a negative feeling. It is something my 9-year-old son would call “judgative.” Yes these are the days of Judgment, but why do I need to feel so judged? What is the meaning of all of this noise on the Jewish New Year?
Aaron: “I think you’re underestimating how long a minute is.”
After her synagogue did not know how to deal with her Tourette’s syndrome, it was Jewish camp that brought Pam back into the fold of Jewish life. In this ELI Talk, she shares her story and how two little words can make all the difference when building an inclusive Jewish community.
The campers sit, singing along in the dining hall, while the song leader gathers their spirits and latent energy after a hefty lunch of pizza. The first two songs of the song session are fine, campers and staff appear to be going through the daily ritual with a sense of delight but also has a minor feel of obligation to it…but…then…BOOM! The third song, the fan favorite, comes on the big projectors at the front of the dining hall, and all the song leader has to do is start strumming… The yells, dances, and screams of 600 people take over.. it’s time for Don’t Waste The Milk!!!
1. Camp is for campers. If you did not realize it before, you will as a staff member. Yes, staff members are supposed to have fun too, but campers always come first. You let them eat first at meals, you let them keep you up all night when they are crying because they are homesick, you let them dress you up in ridiculous costumes just for fun. Because camp is for campers.
1. The camp season has officially started with several camps opening their gates! We wish each of them a safe and fun summer.
We find ourselves living at an interesting time on a couple of levels. Having just participated in two wonderful Seders with my family commemorating the Exodus from Egypt we are getting ready for the last days of Passover commemorating our salvation at the Red Sea. Having just been liberated from slavery, our ancestors found themselves witness to the miracle of the Splitting of the Sea. One can only imagine the elation. In response to this, Moses and Miriam led the Israelites in the two songs sung at the sea. This has become the gold standard of expressing gratitude and religious freedom.