Parshat Matot-Masei: The journey of camp
Dear OSRUI Families,
In this week’s Torah portions, Matot-Masei, we read an accounting of the journey of the Israelites from Egypt to the promised land. The Torah continues and tells of the division of land between some of the tribes.
As I reflect on the first four weeks of camp, there is an interesting contrast between the Torah portion and the camp experience. In the portion the Israelites experience the journey as one community but, upon reaching the land of Israel, disperse into different geographies by tribe. At camp, we often experience the “journey” by unit (a modern-day tribe of sorts), but at peak moments of camp we come together as one community.
This week we had a number of powerful community moments. On Wednesday evening we gathered for Erev Yisrael (Israel night), a program put together by the 35 members of our staff who are with us for the summer from Israel. The program focused on young entrepreneurs in Israel, and each unit had the chance to learn about a different young person doing something inspiring in Israel. We came together to share what we had learned, to sing and dance, and to hear a special video greeting from each of the people we had learned about.
Another highlight of this week has been having Noam Katz with us. Noam is an internationally renowned Jewish musician and the composer of many of our favorite songs at camp. He has spent time with each unit leading services and song sessions, and last night we joined together for a concert as one community. The ruach (spirit) and energy of camp was on full-force as we sang together.
These all-camp moments symbolize the journey of the camp community coming together.
There was one other special journey we celebrated this week. At a staff appreciation program, we celebrated OSRUI’s Associate Director Susan Alexander on her 20th summer at camp. Susan’s impact at camp is felt in so many ways. She hires and supports our staff, teaches and leads our campers, and shapes the programs that have impacted thousands of young people over the last two decades. Please join me in thanking Susan for her continued service to camp in this milestone summer.
There is something interesting about time at camp. Days feel particularly slow, but weeks seem to sail by. It is hard to believe we are coming to the halfway point of the summer and many of our campers will be returning home this weekend, marking the end of their OSRUI journey for this summer. I look forward to seeing many of you on Sunday at pick-up or Chalutzim Visiting Day, and I know your children look forward to sharing about the journey of camp with you.