My friend and colleague Rabbi Phyllis Sommer, is coordinating BlogElul, through which participants are using social media (blogging, but also other tools) to engage in reflection as we go through this month of preparation, leading up to the high holy days.  I encourage you to follow the posts and join in with your own writing.  

Here’s the full list:

Today’s topic is Inventory.  I wrote about it on Kol Isha, the WRN blog. And I’m belatedly posting yesterday’s topic now.  I figure I should get myself back on track before the Intentions theme.  I actually started writing this post at camp this summer, but didn’t post it at the time.  It fits perfectly with the day 1 theme of Return, though!


I sat on the side of the pool one afternoon, dipping my feet in the water to cool off, chatting with some of the kids, and generally enjoying the sun.  Nearby, three Sharon Campers (Sharon is the second youngest unit it camp, entering fifth graders) were laughing and giggling, as they tried to decide what their collective name should be…combining all their names into one…and developing a secret hand shake.  Basically, I got to witness three little girls make a friendship pact–such a sacred moment.  And it dawned on me that moments like that are what camp is about on a most basic level; and that this particular moment on this afternoon could have just as easily been during free swim on any afternoon in any summer.  It have easily been something I watched my campers doing when I was a counselor 20 years ago.  It could have just as easily been me 29 summers before, when I was a Sharon Camper my very first summer at camp.

And I realized that however much changes, the important aspects of camp remain–sealed in the memories of those of us that lived them–and happening anew each year.  And that while some things look a little bit different, they don’t really change all that much.

The line from Stars in the Sky that I first heard during as an Alma Mater in 1985 for the green team, “Don’t waste a moment, ’cause you’ll never see it return,” is as true now as it was then (and still bring st

There may be some new buildings,  but the honest and intense conversations that only seem to happen at camp happen within their walls.

The songleaders may be different, and the melodies may be new (at least some of them), but the ruach (spirit) in the chadar ochel (dining hall) doesn’t change.

We may pray out of new prayer books, but services on Chapel on the Hill or in Chapel in the Woods are still magical.

And most of all the things we learn: about life, about friendship, about our friends, about ourselves. Those lessons stay the same. And they keep coming no matter how old we are at camp. Andtheft arejust as true now as then.

And perhaps that’s the lasting message of my summers at camp.  And how I can Continue to learn from camp throughout the year. Camp makes it easy. Easy to see and to realize what’s really important and to recognize the sacred in the world.  But what’s important and what’s holy is the same

This year as I enter Elul and enter a new year may I allow myself to continue to know those truths.

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About rabbiisa

I'm a Reform Rabbi, with a passion for education! I'm also a pop culture fan, political junkie, and crossword puzzle addict. I am INTP, a proud member of Red Sox Nation, and a fan of the Oxford Comma.

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