The camp experience has never been more important for our children, and even adults. In our technology-laden world, camps provide a much-needed opportunity to bond in person, share values and experiences face to face, and learn about Jewish traditions and customs in an interactive environment.
At the website jewishcamp.org, the Foundation for Jewish Camp addresses the question “Why Camp?”
“Jewish camp weaves Jewish values, culture, and traditions into the fabric of camp, helping campers to connect to their own identity and the larger Jewish community. Spirited and dynamic staff members use experiential learning to reveal what makes Jewish religion and culture so unique in today’s world.”
The article goes on to say that “Children with pivotal Jewish camp experiences are more likely to become adults who value their Jewish heritage, support Jewish causes, and take on leadership roles in their communities.”
This is especially needed today when we are overloaded with technology and so many children and adults rely on it to communicate. Texting is replacing talking and emojis are replacing emotions. This has a negative impact on our lives and relationships because it removes in-person contact and the spontaneity of a shared group experience. We need to be sharing, collaborating, listening to each other and learning from each other, and what better way to do this than in camp?
Several years ago I attended two Jewish summer retreats, in very different settings. One was in a hotel, with lectures and meals in a central place. The other was on a college campus and featured outdoor activities. One camp was traditional and the other had added spiritual dimensions. Although the experiences were different, I felt bonded to my Jewish heritage, faith and traditions in both. I met Jews from different backgrounds and parts of the country and loved listening to different perspectives, as well as participating in prayers, chants and songs.
PATRICIA RASKIN hosts “The Patricia Raskin Show” on Saturdays at 3 p.m. on WPRO, 630 AM/99.7 FM and on Mondays at 2 p.m. on voiceamerica.com. Raskin is a board member of Providence’s Temple Emanu-El.