Dear OSRUI Families,
It has been another great week at summer camp! On Wednesday, the entire camp participated in OSRUI’s Maccabiah Games (our version of Color Wars). We spent the day participating in a variety of sports, arts, and team-spirited activities. One of the best parts of the day was seeing all of the Chalutzim chanichim (campers) take on a leadership role to help run Maccabiah. Everywhere I went on Wednesday, Chalutzim chanichim were leading their fellow campers and the whole camp community. Their spirit and love of camp was contagious and helped make Maccabiah a great day for all of us. At the end of the day, we set off confetti cannons filled with confetti of the winning team’s color (yellow!) and sang the camp song as one camp community.
On Thursday afternoon, the chanichim had the opportunity to participate in a very special program where they got to see a sofer (scribe) complete the writing of a Torah scroll. This Torah scroll was commissioned in honor and celebration of Susan Alexander’s 21 years as OSRUI’s Associate Director. Rabbi Michael Weinberg and the sofer explained the process of writing a Torah and answered questions from chanichim. Chanichim were silent and intently watching as the sofer wrote the last few words of the Torah.
During Kabbalat Shabbat services this evening, we will present this Torah scroll to the entire camp community. We will also honor and celebrate Susan and her tremendous impact on the OSRUI community. In the years that Susan has served as OSRUI’s Associate Director, she has mentored hundreds of staff members and welcomed tens of thousands of children to camp. Her deep love of Jewish life and learning is infused into everything she does. She models for all our staff members what it means to care for and respect children. For more than two decades, Susan has developed staff members into leaders and made campers feel at home here. For those of you who have sent campers to OSRUI for many years, you know that Susan is always one of the first people you see on opening day. On a personal note, I will always remember that Susan was the person who first greeted me and my family when I arrived as a first-time camper and made us feel welcome at camp. It has been a privilege to get to work alongside her these past two years as director, and for years before as a staff member. The Torah scroll that we are dedicating in her honor will live in the Heichal HaTarbut Kaye and is a symbol of Susan’s lasting impact on our camp community.
This Shabbat, we will read from the last Torah portion in the book of B’midbar (Numbers). It is customary to recite a special phrase when we complete the reading of a book of Torah: chazak chazak v’nitchazeik. It means “be strong, be strong, and let us strengthen each other.” Though we come to an end of something, like reading a book of Torah, we express hope for the future and our continued learning. As we celebrate Susan at the end of her tenure, we also know that her mentorship, guidance, and love of camp will continue to sustain the OSRUI community for years to come.
This Shabbat also marks the end of Chalutzim’s seven weeks at camp and Kallah Gimmel’s three weeks at camp. I know that the experiences they have had at camp this summer will give them strength. Thank you for sharing your children with the OSRUI community this summer. For those of you whose campers are in Tzofim, Tiferet, Gesher, Moshavah, and Tour La’Agam, we are looking forward to one more great week of camp before they return home to you. May we all continue to be strengthened by each other and the OSRUI community.
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