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Sunday, March 1, 1992

Ani V'Atah

                                                                                                                      March, 1992

Dear G.U.C.I. Staff:


The weather's turned warm here and thoughts of the upcoming camp season are
inescapable.  As always, it is invigorating to think about the energy, the
involvement, the life of camp.  But it's a little scary as well.  Why, I have
often asked myself, would anyone put him/herself in a position to be
responsible for the well-being of almost eight hundred people during the course
of a summer?  Sounds crazy, no?  Like a Camp Director on the roof.


I find part of the answer to that question in the lyrics of two songs, one of
which I'm sure you'll recognize.  How many times either here at camp, or at
OVFTY events, or NFTY conventions have we sung, "Ani V'Atah Nishaney Et Ha Olam,
You And I Will Change The World?"  I really believe that in my own miniscule
way I am helping the world be a better place by being the Director of Goldman
Union Camp.  And I really believe that "You and I," you, our staff, and I, our
Director "Change The World" each summer in many small and many, many
significant ways.  I think you understand what I mean.


It is important for all of us to consider what we are doing or going to do to
make this world a better place.  It is simply not enough to aim for a career,
for money, fame, etc.  If we are not contributing to the betterment of the
human experience, then ultimately, many of the things we accomplish in our
lives will leave a sour taste in our mouths.  I'm not saying that material
things are unimportant, but how can they compare to giving of yourself,
striving with others, teaching, building, learning, and laughing?  The longer I
live the more I come to realize that it is not the car you drive but the
direction you point it in that really matters.  I hope those of you who are
about to begin your college careers will chew on this for a while.

 
I am not so idealistic as to think that what I've suggested is enough for us. 
You should be asking, "What's the payoff?"  The second song I've been thinking
about is a little more obscure.  Some of you may have heard the old Zionist
song that proclaims "We will build the land (of Israel) and so be rebuilt by
it."  And this is the secret payoff of a summer or many summers at camp.  The
more we strive to create a better (even perfect) world here at camp, the harder
we work, the better the program, the more we give our campers...the more we are
rebuilt by the experience.  The more we teach the more we learn.  The more we
help others, the more we are helped.  The more we strive together, the more we
feel a sense of community, of family, of Klal Yisrael.  I can't escape an
uplifting feeling of pride in this Movement of ours, our camp, our NFTY
regions. 


So bring on the summer of 1992!  Let's do it again.  Let's make that
difference, no matter how small.  And, by the way, let's have some fun doing it
together.    

Ron