Hanukkah Night 5 | Scott Family’s Miracle Of Camp
Chanukah is a minor festival on the Jewish calendar. While its theme of survival is far from insignificant, over the centuries we’ve creatively adapted ways to emphasize this festival as a true bright spot in our year. From elaborate menorahs, to flavorful latkes and even Radio Chanukah on Sirius XM, the miracles of Chanukah have expanded beyond the brief eight-day celebration.
Similarly, the magic and sacred part of camp is not limited to only the summer. The memories, the smells, and the power of camp becomes intricately woven within one’s soul. Despite the heat and the bugs, GFC is a miraculous light that burns brightly well beyond Smith Lane and Bruceville, Texas.
Like so many of you, my family and I were heartbroken over the sadness of no in-person camp this past summer. We were holding out hope that there would be a way to safely gather in our beloved home away from home. But, like our ancestors who experience setbacks, we creatively found ways to overcome the sadness. With the help of our terrific staff and many supporters, “camp” happened. From the incredible Shabbatot online with images of the outdoor Beit Knesset, to engaging song sessions with our favorite melodies and Israeli dancing, camp made its way into our home. Together with the “Summer of Fun” sessions, we made our bunk door signs, sang the Birkat Hamazon and had cabin time. While our children certainly were not too excited about having their parents as counselors, we found a way to celebrate the spirit and magic of camp.
Being a part of a URJ camp community is one of the greatest gifts of our movement. The memories and experiences of camp challenge every child to discover who they are and push them to grow in ways they never thought possible. The time spent away from home in a safe and nurturing environment where Jewish values are not only taught, but lived, is beyond comparison.
This season of miracles reminds us that out of sadness and oppression hope can shine brilliantly. As we look ahead to summer 2021, I have great faith that the miracle of camp will be a reality in-person. Today, we make important choices for healthy and safe living that will have an impact on our future and those of all campers, staff, and faculty members.
Music is an important part of this season and it is an equally important part of GFC too, as we are reminded to “not let the light go out.” We would serve ourselves well to also reflect on some of the most special lyrics from “Stars in the Sky.” Camp helps all of us, regardless of our age, “find the person we would become, to find the person who was hidden somewhere inside.” As we search for our lights within, may we also draw out the spark of the Divine deeply embedded within each of us. With thoughts turned toward our special home away from home, may we follow each other to GFC safely, brightly, and peacefully.