Blog  A Postcard from Camp: News from OSRUI Spring 2019

A Postcard from Camp: News from OSRUI Spring 2019

From the Director

I recently returned from Israel where I spent a few days with the 35 Israelis who will be joining us as staff at camp this summer. Our Israeli shlichim (emissaries) come to us through a highly-competitive application process through the Jewish Agency. They are an exceptional group, excited about coming to OSRUI, and looking forward to being a part of our camp community and sharing what life is like in Israel.

It was also a historic week to be in Israel. Israel held a tightly-contested election while I was there. In the days before and after the vote, Israelis were debating the candidates and outcome in every coffee shop and on every street corner. I was also in Israel for the attempted moon landing by SpaceIL, the Israeli organization trying to become only the fourth country to land a spacecraft on the moon. The spacecraft – named Beresheet (Genesis) meaning “in the beginning” – lost communications in the final minutes of its six-week journey and crashed onto the moon’s surface. Israel truly was on an emotional roller-coaster as a nation over the time that I was there.

There is a line in Maariv Aravim – the prayer about creation that we recite in evening services – thanking God for arranging the stars in the sky according to plan. In the summer, when the starry sky is clearly visible over camp, I can’t help but think of the contrast between the small world we create at camp and the vast expanses of the universe visible to us. Looking up at the stars, we do not see perfect order but rather different shapes and sizes grouped together and spread apart in a seemingly random way. Maariv Aravim teaches that what we are looking out at is not random but is the result of a thoughtful plan.  It is an important reminder that the results of a well-laid plan can take many shapes.

While Israel undoubtedly would have rather successfully landed on the moon, there is a lesson to be learned from Maariv Aravim. As we turn to the stars and reflect on the miracle of a 70-year-old country of 9 million people coming within minutes of landing a spacecraft on the moon, we must remember that the results of careful planning can still be unpredictable and can still be beautiful. Israel is a living reminder of the need to never give up. Days after the failed landing, SpaceIL announced they would try again with a mission named Beresheet 2, reminding us that “in the beginning” is exactly that: a beginning.

Our Israeli counselors joining us at camp bring their skills, talents, and energy with them to camp. They also bring the lessons of SpaceIL with them: a willingness to dream of the impossible, the hard-work to make it happen, and the resilience to try again after coming so close.

Summer is right around the corner and I am looking forward to working with our staff to arrange the stars at camp “according to plan” for another amazing summer at OSRUI.

All of us at OSRUI wish you a Chag Pesach Sameach!



Solly Kane, Director

2018 Was an Incredible Year for OSRUI!

Check out our Impact Report, which tells the story of the year through numbers, photos and personal reflections.

A big thank you goes out to our entire community for all that you do to make OSRUI home for so many!

See the OSRUI Impact Report

Countdown to Summer 2019!

Meet the 2019 Summer Staff

There’s still time to Register for Camp

.  The OSRUI Online Canteen will be open April 22 – May 6.  Get your swag for the summer!  Check our website on 4/22 for the link.


Join us in the 53066 

May 29-Jun 2, 2019
Hava Nashira

Oct. 18-20, 2019
Fall Family Camp

Nov. 15-17, 2019
Mother Daughter Weekend
Led by Associate Director Susan Alexander

Mar. 13-15, 2020
Spring Family Camp
Including a special track for families with young children

May 15-17, 2020
New!  Avodah for Adults
Work weekend to help camp get ready for summer

Spring Family Camp

More than 20 families came together and discovered the magic of OSRUI during this beautiful weekend. We climbed ropes, played gaga, celebrated Shabbat, had a drum circle, completed a scavenger hunt, roasted marshmallows, sang songs and did so much more! If you are a current OSRUI family or considering OSRUI or even have kids who are not quite camper age – we have something for you! Join the fun at one of our next Family Camps next fall or spring! Family Camp is scheduled for Oct. 18-20, 2019 and March 13-15, 2020.






Where are They Now?
Alumni Spotlight on Cheese Monger Jill Zenoff

Recently, we sat down with OSRUI Alum Jill Zenoff

Years at Camp:  I spent 9 years as a camper and staff member in the ’90s and ’00s.

Currently:  I’m an environmental educator, agrarian, community organizer, and chef.  I recently took top prize at the Cheese Monger Invitational.

How camp has impacted my life:  Camp was where I could be the most myself. The rest of the year school, chores, etc. were everything you did to pass the time until you got to go back to camp … And today, I draw upon my experiences at camp every single day both at work and in life.

​Read more about Jill on our blog.

Where are They Now?
A Novel Take on OSRUI in the ’80s

Mark Swartz (camper 1978-84; staff 1986-87) recently self-published Summertime Jews, a coming-of-age story set in 1986 at a Jewish summer camp in Wisconsin. The cover image, an “archival” photo, features the author, Mitch Silver, Alan Berlin, and Scott Cohen.

Mark, who lives in Takoma Park, MD, with his wife and two kids, wants to stress that the novel’s characters are not based on real-life people, and the events are almost entirely invented. “It’s been great hearing from old friends and campers,” he says. “I haven’t been back to OSRUI since the eighties, but I hear it’s changed a lot.”

Chalutzim Reunions

We look forward to welcoming back to camp our Chalutzim “decade” reunions! If you attended Chalutzim in 2009, 1999, 1989, 1979, or 1969 (or even if you didn’t attend, but that’s your group of camp friends), we hope to see you July 26-27 at OSRUI!

Please fill out this form so we can collect names and contact information and send you the details.

Questions?  Contact Dylan Singer at

New!  OSRUI Camp Days

Join us for a taste of the fun at camp and a tour on one or more of these themed days:

Sun., 9/22     Climbing! Adventure! Challenge!
Sat., 11/2       Music for the Whole Family

Sat., 1/11        Fun with the 2020 Unit Heads
Mon., 2/17     Sports and Sledding
Sun., 4/5        Get Creative in our Arts Center
Sat., 5/16       Experience Shabbat at Camp

Let My People Go (to Camp!)

20% of our campers rely on generous scholarships to attend summer camp.  Consider making an online donation to help our increasing needs for Summer 2019.  Thank you!

OSRUI Peeps are in the News