Memories of Camp
It has been shown that immersive Jewish experiences such as summer camp greatly influence one’s connection to Judaism later in life. It is with that excitement that I watched our children this morning as they prepare to spend Shabbat together at Camp Ramah with our Sinai Temple family. We will pray, play, eat, schmooze, and learn together. We will learn our stories in a much deeper way. We will see old friends and make new ones. It is the hope that Sunday morning’s closing circle will be a beginning and not an end to our connection to our synagogue and our community.
As we gather at camp, we will also celebrate Rosh Chodesh Nissan, welcoming the month of freedom. It is a month that will, God willing, lead to geulah, redemption. Rabbi Simlai in the Talmud teaches that when a Jew is privileged to breathe the fresh air of redemption, he will become a different specimen of human. He will be self-reliant and independent in thought. These next 48 hours at Camp Ramah do exactly that-provide the fresh air of the Ojai mountains, outside of our natural living space, but together with bnai yisrael, the people of Israel.
The Israelites journeyed through the desert for 40 years to reach the point of the Promised Land. The Sinai Temple Shabbaton only lasts one Shabbat, but we know its impact on our own personal stories will last a lifetime.