A Postcard from Camp: News from OSRUI, Spring 2020

The osrui blog

Home » A Postcard from Camp: News from OSRUI, Spring 2020

The Spring OSRUI Newsletter was emailed to our community on April 6th.  If you missed it, you can catch up on all the news here!

Dear OSRUI Community,

Camp means so much to our community, especially now in these unprecedented times. I have heard from many parents and campers sharing how much they are looking forward to summer. Kids who have been home for weeks, and not interacting with friends in person, are dreaming of the days at OSRUI of splashing in the pool, singing together, and putting their arms around each other in a friendship circle.

Our OSRUI team is carefully monitoring the evolving COVID-19 situation and working tirelessly to do what we can to have a great summer in Oconomowoc. As of today, we are still planning to have camp this summer, and all of us on the camp team are also counting down the days to OSRUI 2020. We shared this letter recently with our 2020 families if you are interested in reading more.

There is a beautiful reading in Mishkan T’filah, the Reform Movement’s prayer book, that has been on my mind a lot recently:

“Standing on the parted shores, we still believe what we were taught before ever we stood at Sinai’s foot; that wherever we go, it is eternally Egypt; that there is a better place, a promised land; that the winding way to that promise passes through the wilderness. That there is no way to get from here to there except by joining hands, marching together.” 

As we prepare to retell the story of our people’s exodus from Egypt this week during our Passover Seders, these words ring especially true. In many ways, this is an Egypt moment. Things are not easy right now for many in our community and we are yearning for a promised land. Though we are separated by physical distance, our community has also come together in beautiful ways. We’ve had hundreds of people join our OSRUI family for virtual Shabbat Shiras, Havdallah services, and daily e-chugim (online electives) over the last few weeks. And, while we can’t physically join hands right now, there is a level of connectedness as current campers and alums of all ages share in the experience of camp programming from afar.

It is easy to get stuck in the challenges of this time we are living in. I hope that as many of us prepare to gather for virtual Seders this week, we can also take stock of some of the things we are grateful for. Gratitude for additional time with family as we get to know each other even more deeply. Gratitude for the ability to connect virtually. Gratitude for teachers doing their best to teach online and parents doing their best to balance new realities. And, gratitude for all in our community who are still showing up for work every day as medical professionals, delivery drivers, grocery store workers, and more. Whatever shape your Seder takes this year, I encourage you to find a few moments for gratitude as part of it.

I believe that the only way to “get from here to there” is to join together while we are apart. The OSRUI team is here to help or support in any way that we can. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me or any of my colleagues.

We wish you and your family good health and a meaningful Passover.

Chag Sameach,

Solly Kane, Director

Summer 2020!

In case you missed it, one of our Assistant Directors, Dylan is super excited about getting to camp – check out his 101 days before camp video!

Final Payment for Camp this Summer Extended to May 1st

Considering the impact that COVID-19 has had on our families in many ways, we extended our tuition payment deadline from April 1st to May 1, 2020.  Of course, we will honor any previously made payment arrangements that have been confirmed by our office.

If you are in need of additional financial support for camp this summer or other payment arrangements, please be in touch with JoAnn Sandoval:  jsandoval@urj.org 

Virtual Programming

We know that many in our community are home right now and we know that at a time like this, community is more important than ever. Coming together – whether by doing activities, learning or just being, is a great way to connect even as we are physically separated. The past few weeks, the OSRUI community has been coming together to provide programming for campers, as well as the broader community!

In recent weeks, hundreds of households joined together on Zoom for an awesome Shabbat Shira, Shabbat blessings with our 2020 staff, and Havdalah & Folk Night. Songleaders from different generations have led blessings and songs while individuals and families sing together from home.  Thank you for all who have joined us so far on Shabbat. We’ll be doing Shabbat Shira again on April 17th and hope you’ll join us too!

In addition to our Shabbat programming, we have had wonderful programs such as song sessions, yoga, science, Mad Libs, “Give,” conversations about Israel and more. For a full list of upcoming programs, click here and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

There are also events sponsored by our NFTY regions:  NFTY-CAR (Chicago Area Region), NFTY-MV (Missouri Valley Region), and NFTY-NO (Northern Region).

PJ Library Family Camp at OSRUI

OSRUI partnered with JUF Young Families and planned to hold our first joint PJ Library Family Camp this spring. The weekend sold out almost immediately, with 40 families with children mostly ages 2-5. A rich weekend of programming was planned, all geared towards families with younger children including celebrating Shabbat, participating in a variety of camp activities, and even enjoying some adult social time in the evening.

Ultimately, the weekend had to be cancelled due to COVID-19. However, the Family Camp community gathered together virtually for Shabbat candle lighting and sing-along Havdalah that weekend. Additionally, the JUF Young Families team delivered Shabbat care packages to all families on what would have been our weekend at camp, the packages included a candle making craft, yeast packet and a recipe to make challah.  The group has remained active on Facebook together.

JUF Young Families Director and OSRUI parent Rachel Rapoport said, “We look forward to a time when we can gather together soon to continue to create the transformative connections at the core of PJ Library and OSRUI.”

Preparing for a Summer of Rak Ivrit

Over Presidents’ Day weekend 2020, OSRUI built on the success of the Chalutzim program and deepened our commitment to Hebrew language instruction by offering a 4-day Hebrew immersion weekend at camp.  The program was open to prospective Chalutzim and Chalutzim Ba’aretz campers as well as other high school students interested in an immersive Hebrew program. Lori Sagarin, Chalutzim Segel (faculty) and Director of Congregational Learning at Temple Beth Israel in Skokie, Illinois shared her reflections on the weekend experience here.

Where Are They Now?
Alumni Spotlight on Rogie Sussman Faber

Meet Rogie Sussman Faber, who was a camper and staff member 1981-1989.  Rogie is co-owner of Vogue Fabrics, which has been answering the call for medical supplies during the COVID-19 crisis.

How has camp impacted your life?   When I met Debbie Friedman, I was able to sing every single song she played. I started lighting Shabbat candles at home in high school because of camp, and I still do today, no matter if I’m at home or on the road. I feel a deeper connection to my history and culture because of everything I learned at camp.  Activities I remember vividly include staking out our “territory” in 1920s Palestine before the people on horseback came to get us, Israeli dancing and learning the Salty Dog Rag, and study time with Rabbi Herman Schaalman (z”l). I could go on and on. It was the best time, every summer.

Fun camp fact or story:  My favorite activities were British Haganah, Israeli army night, Shabbat dancing in Port Hall, and I really enjoyed running all the books from the old library up to the Bayit when I was in Avodah – tons of schlepping and sweat, but we were the right crew at the right time.

Tell us about how Vogue Fabrics is answering the call for medical supplies during the COVID-19 crisis.  We have been supplying big corporations like Ford Truck in Louisville and Atlantic Gasket in Pennsylvania that have been tasked with making plastic shields for hospitals.  We also are supplying every quilter who needs elastic so they can sew masks and we’re supplying companies with fabric for making masks and gowns.

Read more about Rogie on our blog  >

Baruch Dayan HaEmet

Our OSRUI community mourns the sudden loss of beloved alum, OSRUI Board member and dear friend of camp, Sam Lieberman. Starting with Avodah Corps, Sam worked in the camp office for many years. He loved camp and continued to weave generations of camp friends together throughout his life. A link to his obituary can be found here.

We encourage contributions in Sam’s memory to be made to the OSRUI Care of Facilities Fund. These donated funds will be used to dedicate a meaningful space at camp in memory of Sam.  Any additional dollars raised in this fund will be directed towards a variety of projects around camp, including plans to help make OSRUI more accessible.

Please feel free to forward this information to friends and family.

Let My People Go (to Camp!)

Currently, 20% of our campers rely on generous scholarships to attend summer camp.  We expect that number to increase this year.  If you are in a position to donate to our scholarship fund, we would be most grateful.

OSRUI is in the News

Shortage of Medical Supplies Has Local Businesses Answering the Call.

Gamoran family talks about Passover during PBS News Hour (they appear at approximately 51:56)