shabbat best of 27It begins the moment campers come home. A deep yearning to return home, their summer home, URJ Camp Newman.

“Mom, dad, I can’t wait to go back next summer. I will be counting down the days to my next summer”.

Over the past many days, we have been “counting the Omer,” the act of counting down the days between Passover (freedom/growth) and Shavuot (receiving the Torah/Redemption), which begins tomorrow night. This tradition is likened to final preparations for receiving the Torah. We, too, are in our final preparations, getting ready to usher in our summer and celebrate the gifts our campers and staff are about to receive:

  • a greater self-esteem and confidence, from living independently of parents, building resilience, experiencing personal growth and creating their own community at camp
  • a stronger Jewish identity, from living in a community that values the blessings of each individual and that celebrates the value of “Betzelem Elohim” – that all of us are created in a divine image and have unique gifts to share
  • a deeper appreciation and understanding of Judaism, from living in an enriching Jewish environment steeped with joy, friendship, celebration, laughter and unforgettable memories

At URJ Camp Newman, many natural wonders are in sync with our preparations for summer. New growth shines brightly at the tips of our Redwood trees and other evergreens; new leaves unfurl from our maples and other deciduous trees; grapes bud on the vines of our vineyard and a warm breeze announces that summer is almost here.

The Star of David overlooking camp awaits the community that will soon enter our gates, accompanied by voices in unison singing “heiveinu shalom alechem.” The sound of music and happy campers will be heard through the hills of URJ Camp Newman.

We look forward to welcoming and embracing your child into this sacred community.

L’shalom, in peace,

Ruben and Rabbi Erin