A press photographer was given special access onto Camp Newman yesterday – before our team was able to get on site – and took new photos that some of you shared on social media. While the devastation is startling, we immediately noticed one thing when we zoomed in on this photo.
The Jewish star on the hill that overlooks camp has survived.
What a fitting symbol for this moment. Countless times in our Jewish history, we have lost our homes, been displaced, and wandered the diaspora. Yet in all of these times our faith, community and traditions have helped us transcend any hardship. Time after time, our spirits and resolve have been lifted by our Judaism and our people. Even now, across every corner of the world, campers, staff, alumni, congregations and supporters are planning impromptu gatherings (click here for a list) to share their sadness, but also their love for camp and each other.
Our community has always found a way to rebuild and endure. We are survivors. Like the star, we can also see that perhaps some of our 500 cabins, the Kikar mosaic, one of Helen Burke’s arks, and the Nof may have also weathered the fire.
While our physical space may not look the same, we will rise from these ashes. Already, our team is thoughtfully planning a rich and meaningful summer 2018 experience. Already, C-Dubb Smash, our NFTY CWR teen retreat, is happening next weekend at Congregation Rodef Sholom.
As we celebrate the holiday of Simchat Torah today, we see a striking similarity of starting to read the Torah anew again and starting our journey of recovery for camp. Together, we will go from strength to strength. Together, we are #newmanstrong.
We continue to pray for all those who are still being affected by the wildfires. For resources and ways to help, please click here.
To support the #NewmanStrong campaign in response to the destruction caused by the California wildfires, please click here.