Swig Camper 1971-74, CIT ’75, Staff ’76-77, ’81 (Helen’s assistant, counselor and programmer)
2020-21 Legacy of Tikkun (Online Camp Alumni Project)
When I was 17, after the five-week session of CIT Class ’75, I stayed on at camp to work as the artist assistant to Helen Burke. This in itself was a dream come true for me because I loved being in Helen’s workshop, sculpting in welded copper and creating mosaics, and I loved being with Helen! That summer, however, another dream came to me. Helen and the architect Shami Noyle began planning and designing a Chapel to house the work of Helen and the campers that she taught, in what would be the Jo Naymak Holocaust Memorial at Camp Swig. I said to Helen, “If the chapel exists by the time I get married, this is where I would like to have my wedding.” 8 years later, the Chapel was dedicated in August of 1983 and on October 2nd, 1983, my husband, Haim Hazan, and I were married in the chapel! The memory of this magical event has been a blessing to us throughout our years of marriage.
The mosaic floor of the Memorial, depicting the 12 tribes embraced by a central tree of life, was laid the following year adjacent to the chapel and was intended to be the stage of an amphitheater. It had become my special project. I would run the mosaic workshop while Helen would teach welding. I was later hired by Helen to upgrade some of the floor panels done in the earlier years of the project. We had become much better at doing the work over the summers, but I kept the content of the work true to the spirit of the hands that originally placed the tiles.
The amazing floor remains intact at the old Camp Swig site. Hopefully, another dream will come true one day and it will find its way to Camp Newman and provide the setting for many more blessed occasions!