Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Jewish Summer Camping

A lot of summer camps begin today so I thought it would be nice to blog about Jewish summer camps. There is a great radio program available for download here from the University of Michigan Frankel Center's website. My friend Jonah Geller, executive director of Tamarack Camps and the Fresh Air Society, is featured on this program. Deborah Dash Moore, the director of the Frankel Center, is also interviewed on the program along with Riv-Ellen Prell and Albert Vorspan. I attended a lecture given by Prof. Prell this past winter at University of Michigan with Michael Wolf, director of Camp Ramah in Canada. Prof. Prell explained how Jewish summer camping is such an important way to get Jewish children to think more seriously about their Jewish identity. Well, no surprise there, but it is critical that more people hear that.

The Foundation for Jewish Camping, headed by Jerry Silverman and founded by Elise and Rob Bildner of New Jersey, is really advancing Jewish summer camping and is to be commended for their work. Should the Jewish community put more emphasis on Jewish camping for the sake of our future as a people? I know the answer is Yes!

Here is a sermon I delivered at Congregation Agudath Israel in Caldwell, New Jersey in 2003. I updated the sermon and delivered it at Beth Israel Congregation in Ann Arbor last summer after returning from Camp Ramah in Canada where I served as Rabbi-in-Residence for a session.

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