By Faculty Artist, Relli Siegel
Four years ago, my kids came to URJ Camp Newman for the very first time. We didn’t know how it would be for them, but when we picked them up on the last day, standing by their new life-long friends, they were glowing with light and love. I remember the feeling I had, tears in my eyes, feeling deep gratitude for how blessed we are to have this amazing place where my kids feel loved, appreciated, with the ability to see themselves in a whole new way.
I love Camp Newman so much, that this summer I joined the Newman faculty team as an artist for the Hagigah session. Hagigah is a program for rising 10th graders that incorporates different arts into the Jewish experience of camp. I was inspired to join the Hagigah team last year when my son was a Hagigah camper and I got to see the amazing creations made by the young artists at the Hagigah Festival. I could feel the beauty coming through their individual art and I knew I wanted to be a part of this magic. So with my love of art and Camp Newman, this year I feel blessed to have the opportunity to be a part of it.
Beside teaching and doing art with the teens, I think one of my most favorite times at camp is the Shabbat service. As Shabbat is approaching, the kids are getting ready, all wearing white. Hearing them walk all together in song to the Beit T’fillah warms my heart again and again. It moved me so deeply to see how connected they are with each other, with their own flavor of Jewish identity, with the camp and with nature. It is a joy to see those wonderful kids leading services, in the most beautiful of ways.
Thank you Camp Newman for being a home away from home, for being a very special place for my family, and for making it a sacred space for so many amazing people who are here every year.