Friday, August 24, 2007

Shabbat Ideas - August 24, 2007

It is Friday so it is time for my Shabbat Thoughts for August 24, 2007:
Good outcome, bad headline
Beating up on people in wheelchairs
Learning from Theater Best.Jewish.Culture.Columnist.Ever.

(To the tune of "We’re Off to See the Wizard")
Today is Yom Shishi, Yom Shishi is Day Six
Yom Shishi is Day Six and that’s the day we get our kicks
Because tomorrow is Shabbat
The day we like a lot a lot,
A lot a lot a lot a lot alooooooooot,
Because tomorrow is Shabbat
Do dut do do do do dut!
Today is Yom Shishi, Yom Shishi is Day Six!!!!!!!!!!!!

As a camp going Jewish kid, I loved the stupid little songs we sang at my camp growing up. I went to camp in California (where I learned that song) and worked at a few others when I was older (where I brought that song). I love camp in general but the little things make camp so powerful.

Over arching numbers and statistics will tell you that Jewish camping is the most important aspect of a young Jewish life. Just look at the amount of money pouring into camping through the Foundation for Jewish Camping and other organizations. Even the bad stuff is what makes camp so great. Food at my first camp was some of the best grub I have ever had institutionally. The same CANNOT be said about some of the other places I have worked and gone as a camper. But we all still talk about the ‘brown meal.’

The stories we bring with us is where the real power of Jewish camping is found. Just like your first love, camp is a 24-hour a-day seven days-a-week experience. Everything you do is infused with excitement, Judaism and moldy clothing. If it weren’t for camping, I wouldn’t be writing this blog (or living a life where I thought I had a voice worthy of publishing anything Jewish). But living with Hebrew around you, Torah learning even as you play kickball and eating Kosher (style) food isn’t as powerful as sleeping in the same stuffy (and nasty) cabins as the people who came before you.

Tradition is where we find the power of camp. I talk about Web2.0 and the changes of modern Judaism all the time. I love progress when it is for good and we need a lot of good in our world. But camp is something stuck in a different time. Sure kids will wear the newest fashions and bring iPods to camp, but when it comes to Color War you can go back generations and see the same pictures of RGBandY fighting through swim races and watermelon eating contests.

In the years of my life as a Jewish camper, I have missed two summers of camp: one in college when I got a “real job” and this summer because I actually have a real job. I missed it because there is no greater Jewish feeling for me than to go to camp and have kids (and adults) having a blast being Jewish. L'dor V'dor, hallaluyah! To Campers and Campers, hallaluyah!

Shabbat Shalom


A california fan said...

Ahh, you are so right! There is nothing like camp to create a Jewish soul. Even the mediocre camps touch souls, the great camps can instill more Jewish identity and connection than many a synagogue or community program. I think it is because of the 24/7 Jewish experience and the purposeful attempts to connect Judaism to simcha (joy).

phil_in_ny said...

You know I never went to Jewish camp, but remember all of those catchy little songs from Herbrew elementary school.

It seems that as I got older, I really started to identify with being Jewish, something I really never payed attention to as a teen or even early twentysomething.

Now I'm much more active in my Jewish identity, celebrate Shabbos every Friday, be it at home or in synagogue and really enjoy the richness Judaism brings.