Thursday, September 1, 1994
Dear GUCI Staff:
I write you this letter as the holiest time of our year approaches (the second holiest time being mid-June thru mid-August). The ten days starting with Rosh Ha Shanah and culminating with the beautiful Ni’ilah service on Yom Kippur afternoon are deemed to be a time for intense reflection, self-evaluation, and dedication to improving our lives and relationships in the new year. This time period is traditionally called the Days of Awe, and is to be taken seriously.
This year, my own personal days of awe have been extended, stretched to the limit. They began last December when I was called to New York to discuss my leaving Goldman Union Camp and becoming the new Associate Director of the UAHC Youth Division. I hadn’t been thinking about leaving camp. Never-the-less this opportunity plunked itself down in my lap and began several months of reflection and introspection. The idea of directing the entire country’s Reform youth program was very appealing. The timing was right. I accepted the job and set about preparing myself emotionally to say good-bye to my twenty years as Director of our camp and OVFTY. The summer came and went with all of its intensity and diversity. My friends and colleagues, campers and staff embarrassed me with their thanks and good wishes, even gifts and contributions in my honor. Yet, I must admit that there was something unreal about what was happening, something not quite right. I really busied myself with the work of camp to insulate myself from the hard reality of the finality of the summer.
My days of awe came to a crashing conclusion this week, a few days before the “real” ones are supposed to begin. Juca and I traveled to New York. While we were there and upon our return it was becoming clear that all was wrong where it should have been right. All of the emotions came to the surface, pushing away the clouds that began covering my eyes last winter and dimmed my vision throughout the summer. Last Friday night it all became clear to me. This is my home, this is where I belong, and this is where I do my best work. I am a Camp Director and a Rabbi. GUCI is my home, it is my congregation. It has a deep hold on my heart.
At 10:00 PM last Friday night; I officially notified my supervisor that I was turning down the offer for the new position. I will remain the Director of our camp and OVFTY. A great weight was lifted. I learned so very much this year about myself and what’s really important. My inability to see the light in a timelier manner has caused some grief to some people. For that I am truly sorry. It was never my intent. But now that I have come to this understanding, I rejoice with my family as these extended days of awe conclude, and we anticipate the beginning of the next ten Days of Awe on Monday evening.
I’m sure I’ll write more about his as the year proceeds. For now, I wish you and your families a Shanah Tovah, all the best in 5755. And, I’m happy to say that I’ll see you at camp next summer.