Dear G.U.C.I. Staff:
I hadn't planned on writing you again until next fall, what with the onset of
the summer, preparations, anxieties, et al; but here I go again. I want to
relate to you a mixed bag of intense emotions I'm feeling at this moment, all
derived in different ways from connections to our camp.
I'm writing to you from an United Airlines jet, 39,000 feet in the air,
westbound to L.A. I am not only enroute to officiate at the wedding of one of
our staff members of many years, a kid working maintenance (pre-Avodah) when I
walked in sixteen years ago, who is presently a Reform Jewish Educator; but
only a few hours ago I watched the Rabbinic Ordination of two other G.U.C.I.
staff alunmni in Cincinnati. One of these "New Rabbis" came to our camp as an
Anaf camper, won the lead in Project that session, and stuck around for eleven
more summers. So I find myself in a unique emotional state, somewhere between
an ordination and a wedding, somewhere between the childhoods and adulthoods of
people with whom I've lived, laughed, worked, and played these many years at
camp...and beyond. I feel as though I am watching Judaism grow up before my
very eyes, and I'm awed by it. As a Rabbi, my heart swells to welcome two of
"our kids" into the fold of "Teachers in Israel." As a Jew, I'm struck by the
continuity of it all. I think it is what we are all about. But can you
imagine? Two new Rabbis, and a new Jewish family, all in one weekend!
I saw many camp alumni in Cincinnati today, some who feel close and some not.
But I also talked with one of our campers. When he saw me his whole face
brightened. He looked at me, but he saw camp. He came to me to wish me a
Shabbat Shalom and to boast that this year he would be in 2nd year Gezah. The
twinkle in his 12 year old eyes turned me from these deep feelings of
nostalgia, from looking back, to an excited anticipation of what lies ahead,
summer 1990. I tingle at the thought of new campers, staff, hopes and dreams,
As we make our descent into L.A. another warm thought crosses my mind. At the
beautiful and historic Plum Street Temple, just before the ordination service
began, I had the chance to see some of my old professors and Rabbis. Dr. Jacob
Marcus, the patriarch of H.U.C. (he's 93 years old) my American Jewish History
professor, wished me a Shabbat Shalom but then asked jokingly "Who is watching
the camp?" I think he was happy to see me and wanted me to know that he
remembered who I was. The question made me laugh, but now that I think of it
the answer to the question is what's important. I should have given him a
confident smile and told him not to worry. Who's watching the camp? "We are,
Dr. Marcus. We are."