Most times, when asked this question from parents, I share the joy of Shabbat and the sea of kids walking around camp at sunset dressed in white, or the intensive ruach (spirit) of Jewish joy at evening song sessions, but this time it was a regular week night dinner. Not a quiet dinner, but a loud, energetic, cacophony of sounds and sights. I took a breath and looked and listened to hundreds of children cleaning their plates, lining up for the salad bar, chasing friends, singing Birkat HaMazon, screaming across the room, and living in the very moment.

In this large dining hall filled with hundreds of voices, screaming, singing, and laughing, I saw and felt the future. Campers and counselors of all ages forming a community of joy, Jewish living, kindness, and intention. To be on faculty at GFC is a precious gift. To be on faculty is to feel in my bones 24 hours a day, a pure and joyous Jewish energy and to remember in my very soul why I am a Rabbi.

Rabbi Brian Zimmerman
Senior Rabbi
Beth-El Congregation, Fort Worth


To me, GFC is a place where the past and the present come together in new and exciting ways. I love how in the same day I can do both a STEAM activity with a colleague who was my son’s unit head almost 20 years ago and hang out with a student who is experiencing camp for the first time. I love the rituals and traditions- from dancing in the dining hall and banging on the tables during Birkat HaMazon, to decorating bunk tallitot with which to spread a shelter of peace on Shabbat- connect the campers to each other, to the staff, to the generation of campers and counselors who came before them, and to their Judaism. I love how I can be away for four years and still have camp feel like home. Most of all, I love how camp creates sacred space: the unhurried pace and rhythms of nature, the time for deep conversation and learning about one another, the chance to see my students for who they are outside the classroom and away from the structures of school and synagogue, and the opportunity to find deeply Jewish meaning in sometimes unexpected places.

Stefani Carlson
Director of Lifelong Learning
Congregation Emanu El, Houston

Serving on faculty allows me the opportunity to re-experience the joy of camp through my young congregants, my own children, and as an adult. I get to teach and learn, to watch rockets launch, to swim in the pool and the lake, to pray, to eat delicious food, to walk, to sweat(!), to laugh, to play basketball, to start a hundred new lanyards, to connect with new and old friends. Camp is magical, even as an adult, or actually, ESPECIALLY as an adult. Camp creates an energy unmatched by anything else in the world, and I am eternally grateful for the chance to be here again. 

Rabbi Kelly Levy
Congregation Beth Israel, Austin