By Susan Alexander, Associate Director
Yom Kippur is a time for reflection – a time to engage with other human beings and with God.
This past Saturday, at Yom Kippur services, and deep into my own thoughts, I heard a voice that was so familiar and sweet and filled with a confident knowledge, it gave me pause. When I looked towards the bima, I saw Rachel Kaplan Marks, white robe and all, speaking to the congregation. I was so thrilled and excited that I was moved to tears!!
Rachel, you see, grew up at OSRUI. She was a camper, an avodahnik, a machonik (CIT), a madricha (counselor), a sganit (assistant unit head) and a rosh eidah (unit head). She even brought with her, one summer, Albert, now her husband, who became a wonderful part of OSRUI as well, first as a member of the sports staff and later as a rosh eidah. The campers loved him and her! I love him and her!!
I was present. I watched Rachel grow from little girl, to confident camp leader, to almost rabbi. I was part of the team that listened to her ideas, taught her, laughed with her at the many funny and weird things that happen throughout a summer at camp, encouraged her choice of profession and shared her excitement when she married Albert. I was present – it was as though I was watching one of my own children. Connecting with Rachel and other staff members is what I love most about my position at OSRUI.
Rachel spoke beautifully that Saturday. She spoke words from her heart as well as from the Machzor. Her Hebrew had a song-like quality and as she spoke you knew that the words reached each individual in that room. I wanted to applaud but my son seated next to me gave me the look! Rachel, if you are reading this, I was applauding on the inside.
I know that in 2015, when Rachel graduates as a rabbi, she will do even more great things in and for the Jewish community. That is who she is. You will want her as your rabbi and your friend.