Sunday, August 11, 2013

Perspectives from Summer Camp

Shalom all…

Jennifer and I are halfway through a week up at summer camp at the present.  I thought some perspective on camp life might be in order.

Jesse just finished his last Shabbat as a camper.  He was holding back tears at Havdalah this evening.  My but we have come a long way.  This is the kid who spent a night in our cabin the first summer we were up here eight years ago.  He was having adjustment concerns, and the staff did not think he could handle the overnight camping trip.  By the way, he has since earned his platinum medal in canoeing, and voted for the hardest camping trip with his friends.  Keren was also fighting back tears tonight.

Many of my friends are vegetarians.  I have heard the arguments both ways.  After having spent time at camp, I realize that there is one compelling argument towards the consumption of meat.   With few natural predators, it falls on human beings to control the spread of the Canada goose.  I volunteer, happily.  I am debating offering a course in kosher slaughter one summer.  At the conclusion of the course, we will have a barbecue.  They are such disgusting creatures.

Jennifer pointed out last summer that there is something important to the kids about standing on benches.  I do not know what it is, but at random moments at meals, various groups of kids will stand up and start singing or shouting.

I have discovered an amusing difference between the boys and the girls.  Many of the girls in Keren’s group have not yet been photographed in their own dress clothes.  On Friday afternoon, in preparation for Shabbat, all of the girls are wearing someone else’s clothing.  The boys just do not do that.  The boys wear their own clothes.  It seems that at least concerning the dress clothes, the girls here do not bring their own clothing so much as they bring a contribution to the communal wardrobe.

Jesse's group did its musical last night.  They performed, in Hebrew, "Prince of Egypt.'  After a hiatus of too many years, it was nice to see/hear my trumpet in the pit orchestra.  Jesse arranged the music for the trumpet and clarinet, and played very nicely.  I got a little misty-eyed.  That group spent this evening at dinner singing songs from the Passover Haggadah.  It was really funny when they had the entire camp singing "Ehad Mi Yodea" - "Who Knows One."

There are varying levels of personal observance amongst the campers.  Some will wear a kippah (yarmulke) all day.  Some will wear one only at meals and at daily services.  I took an informal survey today.  Of the six rabbis' sons at camp, only one wears a kippah full time.  The rabbis' kids are apparently the worst culprits.  Imagine that.

The child of close friends has happily adopted Jennifer and me as his camp parents.  What I do not understand is this: what is it about me that has him react to me with the same level of mischief that I get from Gavi?  Is it etched on my forehead?

I have a pet rock.  Somehow, there is always a small stone in my left shoe.  No matter how many times I pour it out, I have a stone again within an hour.  I think it is the same stone.  I think it follows me around camp, waiting cunningly for the opportunity to jump into my shoe.

Have a good night.


1 comment:

  1. First- Keren was not "holding back tears." She was openly crying.
    Second- Geese may be disgusting, but they have a purpose. They are yummy and produce warm down.
    Third- I told you- everything is better done standing on a bench. We should incorporate it into all synagogues' services. Maybe if every Jew stood on a bench during services they'd all participate with ruach and volume.