Memories of camp last a lifetime

Dear Families,
Camp is over and it is time to come back to the real world. All over the Jewish world, children are “re-entering” from their Jewish camp experience.
They bring memories of fun, friendship and Jewish life. There is no better place to live Jewishly than at camp. However, the key word in the sentence is “memories.” Those memories are what keep us connected — what makes Jewish geography go the step farther than just knowing someone who knows someone (or is related). Once we have the physical connection we start sharing the memories.
As camp is still on my mind, let me share an advertisement from JDate called “Jewish Summer Camp.” The scene is a blind date at a restaurant with a dark-haired young man and a blonde young woman (yes, stereotypes!). The young man says that the friend who set them up went to summer camp with him and says, “You know, I never lost in Maccabiah.” The girl asks, “What is Maccabiah?” and the date ends. The next scene is another date — this time with a brunette and the same comment. Of course, they hit it off and talk camp followed by the JDate commercial. Memories — shared experiences — connections!
Another marketing piece that plays on our connections: Years ago Chase Manhattan Bank ran the ad, “You’ve got a friend at Chase Manhattan.” Who doesn’t want a friend at the bank? But then Bank Leumi next door ran the ad, “You may have a friend at Chase Manhattan but at Bank Leumi, we’re mishpacha!” Family is more important than friendship!
Now the question is how to create those memories? When families lived close and were often together for celebrations and more, memories happened. Jewish memories were created around holiday traditions and lifecycle events. As children married and brought in new families, new traditions were created and then the memories continued.
Even the “family arguments” of “this is how we do it” were part of the memories. Today it is more challenging and, although I would like to say the solution is Jewish camp, it takes more. It takes family and it takes what is called in the teaching world “intention.” We must think about how we can create those important memories and the job falls to all of us — parents, grandparents and the Jewish community!
As we get ready for the new Jewish year, think about how you will intentionally create memories with your family and then experience it in the moment!
Shalom…from the Shabbat Lady.
Laura Seymour is director of Camping Services at the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center.

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