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.
It was my first Shabbat at a new camp – Camp Interlaken JCC – and I was still feeling out how this camp was going to be different from all other camps (a little Passover humor). Future (now current) Rabbi Benjy Bar-Lev started the cheering and chanting. Kids jumped out of their seats. They were bursting with excitement, as Benjy put it, for their VERY BEST FRIEND THE TORAH!
As we approach Pesach, I have been thinking about one of the names of this holiday – z’man heiruteinu – the time of our liberation. For our teenagers, what does it mean in these modern days to really feel and experience liberation? From what do our teens need or seek liberation? Where is Mitzrayim (Egypt) and where is the (possible) Promised Land(s) in their lives?