Tonight’s Hanukkah blog post was written by Mike Mason, a camp parent and our Summer 2021 Head Song Leader (and comedic relief).
At Greene Family Camp it is often said, “summer at camp is the Shabbat of the year.” But wait! What if summer at camp is also the Channukah of the year?
Allow me to expand on this: Channukah is about miracles and light. The miracle of the oil lasting for eight days, as well as the light that comes from the candles burning on our Channukiyot are the key pieces to making this connection.
As the GFC community emerged from our lost 2020 Covid year, we all needed light. We needed to see our friends. We needed to see our home away from home on Smith Lane. We needed to see Mumtauk, shira, Maccabiah, and Lake Jake.
We also witnessed miracles firsthand. The biggest was the arrival of campers in June! There also wasn’t a single case of Covid at camp throughout the whole summer. How about the miracle that an incredible group of mischlachat (Israeli staff) was able to be with us for the whole summer when covid seemed to make that impossible?
There were personal miracles and light in the life of my own family. My wife, Rabbi Erin Mason, was able to take the reins at her happy place as the new Director of GFC. Although we’re not related, there was the light that Loui Dobin shone on all of us as the leader of GFC, and the graciousness that he guided Rabbi Erin as she prepared to lead GFC into summer 2021. Let’s not forget about the light that our director team (Erin, Larry, McKenzie, Ethan, Melissa, and Michaela) shone on all of us as they guided us through a summer of change in almost every aspect of the camp day.
All of this is important, but for me, the miracle was the light that shone in my own kids’ eyes as I watched them go through their camp day. They made new friends, participated in Recreational.Activites.In(the).Dark, played in the lake, and they were able to finally, miraculously, be out of the house and out from under their parents’ watchful eyes. They finally were able to just be kids again.
Then there was the greatest miracle of all. Finally, all camper parents were able to let out a deep breath knowing that our kids were having the best summer of their lives. We also had enough light to see into the future and that our kids could do it again next summer.
The letters of the Dreidel symbolize the words “Nes, Gadol, Haya, Sham” – A great miracle happened there.
In the case of camp being the Channukah of the year, “There” is Bruceville, and the “great miracle” was our summer together shining with light at GFC.