Blog  Shabbat Message from Solly: Counting People and People Counting

Shabbat Message from Solly: Counting People and People Counting

Shabbat Pinchas

Dear OSRUI Families,

It has been a great and busy week at OSRUI! On Sunday, we gathered as a camp community for t’filah (services) led by Tour La’Agam. At the end of t’filah, our Tour La’Agam participants biked out of camp while the rest of the community sang Debbie Friedman’s rendition of T’filat HaDerech (the traveler’s prayer). On Sunday evening, we gathered again as whole camp community for Erev Yisrael (Israel Evening). Our mishlachat (delegation of Israeli counselors) planned and led a great night of programming to help chanichim (campers) connect to the people, land, and state of Israel.

On Monday morning, Moshavah chanichim left for their first trip of the summer. Some Gesher chanichim also left for their rock-climbing trip. The Gesher chanichim who did not go on the trip started their three days of special programming, called Yommei Kef (Days of Fun)! On Tuesday, Tiferet Bet chanichim spent the day at the Milwaukee Art Museum exploring modern art and experiencing their studio in a new location with new surroundings.

Kallah and Tzofim had a great second week at camp, working to build their eidah (unit) and tzrif (cabin)/ohel (tent) communities. On Monday and Tuesday, Kallah and Tzofim each had an Erev Ohel/Tzrif (Tent/Cabin Night), where they spent the whole evening in programming planned specifically for their bunk community by their madrichim (counselors). Over the course of the summer, Chalutzim chanichim have explored the history and timeline of Israel. This week, chanichim continued learning about modern Israel from a number of viewpoints and perspectives.

Associate Director Susan Alexander helped to lead the ceremony of the lighting of the Ner Tamid.

As you can see, camp is a place where our days are never boring! On Sunday, in between sending Tour La’Agam off and celebrating Erev Yisrael, we welcomed nearly 300 guests and alumni to camp to honor Jerry and Paula Kaye and dedicate the new Heichal HaTarbut Kaye (Kaye Cultural Center). I spoke about one of the lessons of this week’s Torah portion and the legacy that we have inherited from Jerry and Paula. In this week’s Torah portion, Pinchas, we read that a census is taken of the Israelites. It is not the first or last census taken throughout our people’s history. Rashi, a medieval commentator, explained that the Israelite people are precious to God and therefore God “counts them all the time.” According to Rashi, the counting of people was how God openly and visibly expressed affection for the Jewish people. We count people all the time at camp, and the same sentiment that Rashi spoke of us is true here at camp. For 48 years, Jerry and Paula taught our community the importance of counting as they so lovingly cared for and nurtured our community. As much as Jerry and Paula taught us to count people, they also taught us that people count. On Sunday, we dedicated a beautiful new building in their name, but I know that their legacy lives on in all of us who have been impacted by their leadership and stewardship of camp.

Camp was founded as a place for Jewish community, and the Heichal HaTarbut Kaye is a beautiful new space that will continue to help us live our values of learning, praying, singing, and gathering as a community not only this summer, but for decades to come.

Shabbat Shalom,


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