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Tuesday, September 1, 1992

Camp is Not Enough

                          
                                                                                       

                                                                                  September, 1992

Dear G.U.C.I. Staff:


I want to tell you all something that you already know.  This camp thing of
ours, it's not enough.  That may sound funny coming from me.  Don't get me
wrong, there is no one more committed to what we do here at camp, its long
range effects etc., than I am.  But I hear from so many of our staff people
that camp is their place to be Jewish, or that camp's the only place they
really feel Jewish, or like that.  Well I'm going on record here saying that
this is just not enough.


For many years I have lived my life from one summer to the next.  When I was a
college student I literally could not wait for each successive summer.  One
would end, and I would already be anticipating the next.  What about my Jewish
life between summers?  It was practically non-existent.  I didn't participate
in any Hillel activities, hardly ever showed my face at services or any other
Jewish functions.   Participating in family holiday celebrations, when I found
myself home from school, was about the extent of my Jewish life.  Now that I
think back on that time, I realize how Jewishly empty it was.  Those years
could have been much richer if I would have been involved more.   Also, think
about the things we teach our campers here at camp.  How can any of us feel
other than hypocritical if we put on our Jewish faces while we're at camp, 
play that part in front of our campers and fellow staff members, and then
remove the face when we leave in August?  No!  It is simply not enough.  If we
really love camp, if it is not just a bunch of words, then we are compelled to
live out camp's teachings throughout our lives.  That, to me, means reaching
out to others, joining the Jewish community, affiliating, teaching, joining in
prayer and celebration, social action, etc.  Do something, one thing that
ignites the fire you felt at camp.  Remember the difference you made in someone
else's life at camp?  Do the same thing for yourself.  That is the only way to
make camp real and not some sort of fantasy.


When I was a senior in college, for some reason I couldn't get home for
Pesach.  A couple of friends and I decided to do our own Seder.  We ended up
with 18 people, about half of them non-Jews, all pitching in with the cooking,
then the reading of the service, the explanations of the symbols, teaching the
songs.  It was a grand night.  One that I will never forget.  More experiences
like that would have made my college days more fulfilling, but I didn't see it
then.


The High Holidays are about to descend upon us.  Don't let them drift by
unnoticed.  It really is an important and emotional time for Jews everywhere. 
Be true to the spirit of camp.  Join the rest of the Jewish world as we marvel
at the passage of time, and once again dedicate our lives to all that is
honorable and good.  I bet it will make you feel good.  And it will make our
summer words ring true.


I wish you all a Shannah Tova U'Mitukah, a good and sweet year.  Happy 5753.

Ron