Blog  A Postcard from Camp: News from OSRUI Summer 2019

A Postcard from Camp: News from OSRUI Summer 2019

From the Director

Dear OSRUI Community,

Our summer season is winding down at camp, and we have had a great last two months with the more than 1,000 campers who called OSRUI home in 2019.  During their stay with us, we have helped campers grow, become more independent, and experience all the fun at OSRUI.

We have also worked hard to help them become mensches – Jews who are committed to each other and to Judaism and who see that their Jewish identity can help them navigate and improve the world.  This summer we focused on four middot (Jewish values) that we hope all chanichim (campers) will embody not only at camp, but once they return home as well:  ometz (perseverence), kavod (respect), tsomet lev (mindful presence), and derech eretz (community mindedness).

As Summer 2019 comes to a close, we are so grateful for everyone in our community who helped make it happen:  our families who trusted us with their children; our staff who worked tirelessly to make sure every camper had a wonderful experience; the faculty members who volunteered to spend part of their summer with us, guiding Jewish learning; our donors, whose generosity made so many things possible this summer; and our alumni, who keep OSRUI in their hearts and support us in so many ways.

This past Shabbat, we 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. Just as we mark the end of a book of Torah with an eye to a stronger future together, I hope that as we conclude our camp season I know that our community has been strengthened by the experiences of Summer 2019 in Oconomowoc.

While summer is wrapping-up, we have a busy year ahead of us with many exciting things happening at OSRUI.  Please read below for more highlights from the summer and information about exciting opportunities in the coming months.  We hope to see you at camp soon!



Solly Kane, Director

Read All About It
You can read all about the summer on our Blog Page.  Here are a few of our favorites!

Check Out These Videos from Summer 2019!

New Torah at OSRUI Dedicated in Honor of Associate Director Susan Alexander

After 21 summers, Susan Alexander is retiring this fall.  Susan’s house at camp became a home for so many, filled with the laughter of a group of campers and the wisdom she shared in conversation.

Over two decades, Susan made it possible for countless campers to attend OSRUI by guiding camp’s scholarship program, carefully embodying the value of tzedakah.  On Friday afternoons, Susan oversaw the setting of the Chadar Ochel for Shabbat dinner, making sure that each person had a place to celebrate Shabbat.  And yes, Susan proved she would do anything for camp when she parachuted out of an airplane to kick off Maccabiah!

This summer we dedicated a new Torah scroll in appreciation of the impact Susan has had on thousands of OSRUI campers and staff members.  More than 100 donors, including OSRUI alumni of all ages, clergy, educators, OSRUI families past and present came together to donate more than $40,000 towards this special project.  We are thrilled to honor Susan’s love of Torah and the legacy of kindness, wisdom and care she has left.


Where are They Now? 
Alumni Spotlight on Maris Garcia

Years spent at OSRUI and how they influenced/impacted you:  My connection to Judaism, Israel, Hebrew and so many of my closest friends is very much a result of 10 life-changing summers at OSRUI, six as a camper and four on staff. The spiritual power of music was also such an important part of my experience at camp.

Current Professional Role:  I am the director of the D+I Studio at the University of Chicago. Our mission is to make the campus more diverse and inclusive. We do this by guiding partners across the university through a human-centered design process to improve the experiences of underrepresented students, staff and faculty members.

Fun Camp Fact or Story:
It’s impossible to pick one fun camp fact or story, so I’ll go with my latest favorite memory from OSRUI Family Camp: Watching my son beam during Havdalah while passionately strumming his ukulele in the inner-songleader-circle—at the age of 3.

​Read more about Maris on our blog.

Mark Your Calendar and Join Us in the 53066
We have great weekend programs scheduled in 2019-2020!

Oct 18-20:  Fall Family Camp
Oct. 31-Nov. 3:  Shabbat Shira
Nov. 15-17:  Mother & Daughter Kallah

Mar. 13-15:  Spring Family Camp with PJ Library
May 15-17:  Alumni Avodah Weekend (Details coming soon!)
Aug. 13-16:  Summer Family Camp

OSRUI Peeps Are In the News

Thank You!

OSRUI gratefully acknowledges the generous challenge grant provided by Legacy Learning Labs to upgrade our current performing arts spaces and create new ones.  With the Foundation’s help, our campers are expressing their creativity in a modern, upgraded space with new equipment.  The grant has helped camp utilize the arts to engage learners, deepen their educational experience, and foster their creative self-expression.