Yom Kippur, The Day of Atonement, is the most solemn day in the Jewish Calendar. It is a day that we pause, reflect, pray, and ask forgiveness. Yom Kippur is set apart and observed differently than any other day of the year. There are traditions including fasting, wearing white, synagogue attendance, wearing a tallit, and refraining from many traditional daily activities. We may choose to practice all or none of these traditions, but at its core, Yom Kippur encourages and provides us the time and the space to reflect and to repair.

As we approach Yom Kippur and move away from our summer at GFC, I cannot help but reflect on some of the aspects of camp that help prepare me for Yom Kippur. At camp, we focus on the act of living and praying as an intentional community. We are in our bubble… separated from technology and the outside world. We enjoy the gifts of being fully present and of focusing on our relationships with those around us. As we focus on these relationships with our friends and fellow campers, we learn to live with others, to deepen friendships, to develop trust, to disagree, and to apologize and make amends when we misstep or hurt one another.

Camp allows us to live alongside those who are not part of our family… fellow campers and staff who may come from different backgrounds, have varied experiences and views of the world, and have different opinions. Camp provides an opportunity to learn how to co-exist with others and navigate differences and form deep and lasting relationships. Part of any relationship is discord. At camp, we learn to right one’s wrongs, to apologize, and to make amends. We learn to repair and atone. We take the apology a step further and work on change and restoring our relationships and our community.

As we move towards Yom Kippur, may we all pause and reflect. May we right our wrongs, apologize to those we may have hurt, and work to atone for our transgressions and strengthen our communities. To anyone that I may have hurt this year, please know that I apologize. More than that, I want to do better, and I love that Greene Family Camp is a place that I can grow and learn to do better.

G’mar chatima tovah! May you be inscribed into the Book of Life! I look forward to seeing everyone back at GFC in 5782!
-Melissa Essler, Assistant Director