This week on the blog, Rabbi Erin talks about our holy community, the importance of being together, and the priority we place on communication with all of you.
One of the most surprising elements of being physically distant from our community for so long has been the virtual connections that have formed. While they can in no way take the place of our in-person gatherings and activities, it reminds me that we, as humans, need that contact. We have been shown how special this kehillah kedosha – this holy community – really is. This week has brought two different gatherings that highlight the importance of gathering with each other.
Last Friday evening, July 3, we celebrated our Alumni Shabbat. During the summer in person at camp, different units at camp lead us in Shabbat services. We did not want to miss that this summer, so we invited, over 3 consecutive Shabbatot, for Kibbutz, Avodah, and our alumni to take part in our virtual Shabbat celebration. Including our community in our Shabbat celebration has been incredibly special. We asked our camp community ahead of time to share what makes camp special to them, and I was blown away by the response. Here’s a sampling:
Camp is where I feel most like myself.
Greene Family Camp is where I learned to be me. Camp is my home away from home. Returning to camp is always like a family reunion, you pick up right where you left off. I always cherished being able to be open and honest with anyone you meet at camp. The laughter, the love, and the family.
Camp, the physical place, brings me immense peace, the greatest Shabbat. After thinking about Camp, the community, and all the words to describe it, my best description is just “love.” 💚
The time I have gotten to spend at camp has been truly a blessing.
If I could, I would escape the “real world” right now, and just wait all of this out at camp!
Our Shabbat celebration culminated in our second weekly Oneg Shabbat Sinaglong with Loui leading us in timeless favorites requested by our alumni.
Singing has a way of bringing us together and sustaining us, especially now. The Women of Reform Judaism’s Southwest District supports both GFC and our sister camp, The Henry S. Jacobs Camp in Utica, Mississippi. On Wednesday evening, they hosted an incredibly special song session fundraiser. Gathered together on Zoom, we sang songs with camp song leaders, including our own Loui Dobin. The joy, excitement, and love of camp was palpable as every Zoom box was filled with a smiling face, singing along, clapping, and enjoying being with one another.
We were all looking forward to being together in person this summer, whether as a camper or staff member at camp for the summer or being together for our 45th Reunion Celebration. This summer has been filled with new experiences. We have learned the value of gathering even in the virtual space, seeing familiar faces, and making new friends. The GFC team has connected with our GFC families and alumni. Through it all, we look forward to the time when we can gather in person. We are already planning for next summer!
One of the things that gives us the most joy are the relationships and communication with our community. As you know, rapid communication and feedback is a priority for camp. We want to let you know that as part of our URJ response to COVID-19, the full GFC team will be on temporary furlough from July 12th – 25th. During this time, we will not be working and therefore we will not be responding to emails or phone calls.* There will be a caretaker at camp throughout that time in case an emergency on site arises.
Please continue to stay connected through RJ on the Go, a URJ-wide platform that offers virtual engagement opportunities for your family, including experiences with URJ camps across North America. Continue to tune in to Campfire on Tour on Sunday evenings. This Sunday, July 12, features the fantastic Elana Arian! Stay up to date with camp happenings through our weekly Tell Me S’More newsletter.
We look forward to being in touch with you when we return on July 27th!
* If an urgent matter arises please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.