by Asya Artikaslan, Rosh Breicha
This summer’s theme of creating holy spaces and holy community, means something different to each and every one. Whether it’s your first summer or your tenth, we can all find different moments, places, and friendships that represent holiness. During staff week, we asked our Geza (leadership) members how they can find holiness in everyday items. Overwhelmingly, they suggested that the holiness we bring to camp is within us, intrinsically connected to the creation of a safe space and intentional environment for campers to explore their Judaism.
Like candles, we pass light from one person to another, and as we light each candle, the one before remains lit and does not diminish. At camp, we believe that it’s second nature for our staff to pass on holiness and kindness without losing any of the light ourselves. We strive to foster a community of growth, light, and acceptance through our philosophy of CARE.
As part of the conversation around holiness, staff were asked to choose an everyday object like a koosh ball, bottle of sunscreen, a deflated balloon or a pool noodle that represented what holiness means to them at camp. Many staff members chose dice to represent holiness, and as Rabbi Allie explained, holiness at camp is like a “dice roll.” Everything we do is carefully balanced and measured, yet there is still so much chance involved. No matter which way you roll, there is something beautiful and holy in the outcome. We have rebuilt the physical foundation of Camp Newman, yet without the holiness of our community and our campers, camp is only a plot of land. For the past three years, Porter Creek has been a site of construction and expansion, but as we welcome campers in the coming weeks, it is becoming so much more.
This summer is extraordinary in so many ways. With the return to our holy space on Porter Creek Road, we can’t wait to grow and create light by being present in the moment and focusing on the regrowth of our space and community.