By: Jackson Mercer, Songleader Summer 2014

The Talmud teaches us that to truly appreciate the world we are surrounded by that each day we are to say 100 Blessings. During traditional Shacharit services we recite the Nisim B’chol Yom, a jumping point for those 100 Blessings. Our prayer books, the Mishkan Tefillah gives us sixteen daily miracles where we thank G-d for things we encounter each and every day that we sometimes do not associate with being miraculous.

For the penultimate Shabbat, Etzim, Kallah, and CIT each had the opportunity to collectively write 100 Blessings. Individually we all wrote what we are thankful for or what we take for granted throughout our days. Each camper was able to voice their gratitude, their awe, and their appreciation for seemingly mundane things. Both groups filled up our poster paper and all together we formulated more than 200 blessings for which we were thankful for. What better way to start our year away from camp then by reading the blessings of the future leaders of Judaism.

For Havdallah, as groups we recited some of the blessings we had written earlier in the day. It was not only a reminder of the beautiful and amazing things we surround ourselves with but also of our capacity to create meaningful prayer together. While the Havdallah prayer celebrates, “hamavdil bein kodesh l’chol,” Blessed is the one who distinguishes the holy from the ordinary, in the penultimate Havadallah this summer we all invite the whole camp community to remember our daily miracles which we often overlook. While Shabbat is the holiest of holies, our days are miraculous in themselves and rather than separate the holy from the ordinary, we separate our future holy of a peaceful world, harmony, and justice that we feel on Shabbat with the everyday holiness we feel when we recognize our ability to pray freely or a beautiful sunrise or any other beautiful blessing that we may encounter on any or all of our “ordinary days.”

Camp for many of us represents the Shabbat of our year. Just like during the week Shabbat is a rest from the busyness of the world, so is camp. Whether it is from school or work or cell phone reception or even just the afternoon traffic on the 101, camp is a physical, mental, and spiritual retreat from our everyday lives. Like Shabbat camp is a place where judgement is not passed, a place where peace is tangible with others and oneself, and a place where happiness is only quantified by how many songs into Israeli Dancing your Eidah gets to stay. For many campers, URJ Camp Newman is the Jerusalem we all wish to see in the future, the one we momentarily exist in on Shabbat. The hardest part for so many of us at Camp newman, including staff members, is transitioning from the obviously amazing world of camp back to the “real world.”

However like Shabbat we too have the opportunity to see more than just Camp and the “real world,” or holiness and ordinary. At Camp, our blessings are numerous. We live and thrive in this beautiful community that seems to disappear in the early weeks of August. Sometimes the rest of the year is overshadowed by the happiness we feel at camp however like on Shabbat, sometimes we only need to look at our everyday lives a little closer. AS CIT, Kallah, and Etzim taught one another, every single day we witness beautiful miracles, both on Shabbat and during the week. During the week it is often times much harder to recognize those blessings, just like for many of us who struggle finding the comfort in life outside of camp. The miracles at home may require more time and effort to notice. As we all transition back to non-camp life I invite us as a community to recognize the beauty of Camp Newman and this most recent amazing summer but for us to also look for the bits of awesomeness that get us through each day. Whether it be NFTY events or celebrating Shabbat as a family, I hope we can all find 100 Daily Miracles in the equally supportive, strong communities outside of URJ Camp Newman during the summer. 100 Important Daily Details that ultimately bring us back home to Shabbat, to URJ Camp Newman, and to our home at Porter Creek Road.

Wordle: CampNewman2014

Thank you G-d for…

Making me a Jew

A roof over my head

Food on my plate

Loving and caring family

Keeping me safe

Not being hungry and going to bed full

The ability to share our ideas

Making Camp Newman




Gift of friendship

The ability to communicate

Being alive and well

Family and friends

Giving me strength

Letting me be happy and live a great life

Making the sunrise

Healing the sick

Being given the opportunity to love and be loved

Having people in my life that I love and who love me

Driving to school safely

Having a bed to sleep in

Giving me the ability to make friends

My freedom

Ability to sleep

Getting breakfast everyday

Waking up each morning

My dog

Giving strength to my family

The ability to reason

Waking up in a comfortable place

Giving the ability and allowing me to see

Energy to make it through each day

Taking care of me and loving me

Being able to pray freely

Providing us will meals today and hopefully meals tomorrow

My education


Giving me wisdom


Protecting my family

Our counselors

Actually getting to go to school

The ability to deal with tragedy



Getting to go to school


Happy family

Our health


Writing music

Nature all around us

The people who surround me



The knowledge G-d gave me

Having a friend

My extremely hard working parents

For people who pretty much love me unconditionally

A fully functional body

The ability to see and think positively

Family who supports me in school

Waking up in a healthy environment




Waking up next to smiles

Having clothes to wear

Ability to chose my meals

Being able to freely express my opinions and feelings

Enjoying music


Living in California

The hills and the trees


Going to bed and feeling safe


Waking up next to my best friends: past, present and future

The diversity of human nature

Ability to taste

Who I am

Giving us modern medicine so we can not only heal but feel better when we are sick

This breathe

Constant support regardless of my lifestyle

Having this opportunity this summer to inspire but also to be inspired

My family being financially able to send me and my siblings to camp

Making me closer to my sister this summer

Getting to spend my summer with my favorite people

The ability to make strong connections with the people and nature that surround me

Camp Newman

My Camp Newman Family