It wasn’t 24 hours into the first day of my week on faculty when I got the call.
I was within arms length of a friend and Rabbi when I learned that my nephew had tragically passed away. I didn’t have to hear the news alone. Within moments, the entire camp community felt like family.
Not only did I have a Niviim camper at GFC, but I had also brought my 5 year old with me to experience the magic that was Camp Kattan while I fulfilled my role as an educator. Anyone I had just met mere days ago felt like old friends, and those staff and faculty who knew us and the circumstances jumped in to become my village. My younger son was treated to campfires, sleepovers, art projects and snacks galore. And I was able to return back home to the painful reality of mourning and praying and supporting the rest of my family. I was thankful to be blessed to have the camp community supporting me from afar.
With a heavy heart and my older brother’s blessing, I returned to camp 36 hours later. My fellow faculty members covered my lessons and then allowed me to slowly acclimate back into camp. With Shabbat on the horizon, I was looking forward to the peace it would bring.
And Shabbat at GFC did not disappoint. From the blast of the shofar, to the sea of white, I felt comfort in my soul. From the sound of the rocks beneath our feet , to the golden orange sunset, I felt comfort in my soul. From the melodious prayers, to the words of consolation from so many, I felt comfort in my soul. I know it will be a long road to healing, but in this moment I could not be more grateful for the comfort of camp.
Hilary Kamin is the Director of Education at Houston Congregation for Reform Judaism. A native Houstonian, she spent the first week of camp on faculty with her two sons, Brandon and Dylan.