Posted on July 31, 2015
So, I survived my two weeks working at Camp Newman in Northern California. I have to say first and foremost that I was impressed with the Jewish learning and teen bonding that occurs up there. From the first moment a new camper is welcomed into his/her bunk, there is the singing of “Haveinu Shalom Aleichem, we are so glad to see you!” Seeing the smile on a newcomer’s face is heartening. Then every day in the morning, there’s an outdoor assembly with morning prayers, songs, and some silliness. Meals in the dining hall have motzi and the birkat hamazon. There are services, Judaic programming, and lots of great energy.
Shabbat evening at Camp Newman is special. Everyone wears white as we gather outdoors for a beautiful and spirited service. Dinner is roast chicken, eggplant and tofu, rice, green beans, and brownies. And then after dinner, the fun really begins. Each unit comes dancing out of the dining hall with the CIT’s singing full force. Everyone meets up at the basketball courts and joins in traditional Israeli dancing followed by more current dances to “Golden Boy” and other favorite songs. Seeing over 500 hundred people dance with all their might including staff and faculty to these songs was exciting. I almost forgot about my injured ankle! Thank God for my boot.
I loved seeing our Temple Beth David youth there! I hosted two TBD parties in my room. Our kids told me how nice it was for them to catch up with one another. I also liked “spying” on our kids and sending a few photos to their parents. With the exception of my own daughter, they didn’t seem to mind.
So the two weeks were an amazing experience for me. I worked hard with my 83 eighth and ninth graders in leading morning services and running programming on God and what it means to be perfect and holy. I was challenged and had to learn fast about camp culture but I honed my skills while there.
All in all, I left feeling that this is a very worthwhile experience for our youth. I am grateful for the Lynn Front Memorial URJ Campership Fund managed by the Foundation to support our youth who want to attend Camp Newman. So next year, who wants to go? I do.