At OSRUI, we provide our campers with a nurturing and fulfilling experience — a warm atmosphere, wonderful role models, fun and creative activities and programs, values not just taught but lived, and the beginning of lifelong friendships.
We ensure a welcoming environment for children from a variety of Jewish backgrounds; although most of our campers do belong to Reform congregations, we also welcome children whose families affiliate with other movements, including Conservative, Reconstructionist, Chabad, as well as families that are unaffiliated.
Jewish Values. When you entrust your child to our camp, he or she will experience what it is like to live in a totally Jewish environment. This complete absorption into the rhythms and calendar of Jewish living gives each child a fuller appreciation of the richness of their Jewish identity and heritage. They are taught the values of charity, justice and kindness. Experience has shown that they will bring these good values home!
Hebrew and Jewish Learning. Learning Hebrew (ivrit) is a big part of your child’s experience at OSRUI. We use Hebrew words throughout the day (tzrif for cabin, chadar ochel for dining room, schiya for swimming, etgar for our challenge course). We have a Hebrew Center (Mirkaz Ivrit) and a full-time Hebrew staff dedicated to helping your child’s counselors create fun activities for learning the language.
Every session at OSRUI has a Jewish theme – archeology, the State of Israel, prophets, Genesis and family, are just a few examples of topics we have covered. OSRUI faculty (rabbis, cantors and educators) work with our staff to present the theme to campers in a creative and fun way. The portion of the day (about 40 minutes) devoted to Jewish learning is called limud or limudim.
Shabbat. At OSRUI, campers experience the fullness of a Shabbat celebration both spiritually and culturally. On Friday evening, the entire camp comes together as one for blessings, dinner and Shabbat Shira – OSRUI’s fabulous all-camp song session. On Saturday, we join together again for a picnic lunch and Israeli dancing. Our regular schedule of activities is set aside for a Shabbat afternoon of relaxation and fun.
Campers participate in services (t’filot) twice each day, geared toward the age and maturity of the campers in each session. Services during the week are brief (approximately 10 minutes). Faculty members generally lead the morning service, and campers have the opportunity to plan the evening service in small groups, using creative writings and songs of their choice. Kabbalat Shabbat and Shabbat morning services are longer as appropriate.
Following are some frequently asked questions about our Judaic and Hebrew programming; feel free to contact us if you need additional information.
Will my child feel embarrassed if he or she doesn’t know how to do something Jewish?
OSRUI is a place for children to further their knowledge of Judaism in an experiential way. Every child who comes to camp brings a different skill set and knowledge of Jewish tradition and practice. They learn from us and from their friends at camp. This is a no-stress environment, where learning the levels of Jewish living is an enjoyable and natural progression.
Will it be a problem if my child has limited or no knowledge of Hebrew?
Not at all! Your child will pick it up at camp in an experiential way. Each child learns some basic Hebrew terms, blessings, and phrases during the course of the day. Campers are tested on opening day and placed in a group appropriate to their ability for more formal instruction.
My child attends a Jewish day school. Will she be challenged during Hebrew instruction?
We have many campers who attend Jewish day school. Campers are tested on opening day and placed in a group appropriate to their ability. We have plenty of challenging activities for our Hebrew scholars!
Our family is interfaith. Will my child feel isolated or different because one parent is not Jewish?
Many of our campers and counselors are products of interfaith marriages. Each child at OSRUI is valued as the unique individual they are, with the wonderful attributes they bring to our community. Each child is recognized as a full member of the Jewish community whether they have one or two Jewish parents.