by Rabbi Morley T. Feinstein, University Synagogue – Los Angeles, CA

I’m here at Camp Newman, a laboratory of Living Judaism sponsored by our Union for Reform Judaism located in the Santa Rosa Mountains. I spend time each day teaching in new and different ways, as do the other 10 Rabbis, Cantors, and Educators who are here. I have been privileged for 33 summers to explore our faith and transmit our heritage to a diverse group of Jewish kids from all over America.

Today we connected the miracles of nature – using our senses to experience the beauty of the outdoors – with the miracle of freedom our ancestors felt upon leaving Egypt.  We asked the campers to be silent as they used their senses to appreciate their world.  Among my campers’ thoughts:

The tears of my people remind me how it is to breathe freedom.

In nature peace is all around you. You see the trees and they remind us of You. 

There are mountains I see outside. They remind me how big the world can be, and how much we have from God. God gave us many things and mountains are just as big as His heart.

We all need to time to appreciate daily miracles. Let our campers teach us to acknowledge the intricate universe in which we live and to be grateful for all we are and all we have.