Welcoming Rabbi Rick Jacobs to Kutz Camp
What a remarkable week we had last week at camp! We concluded Shabbat with Havdallah and a dynamic concert with Jewish musician Josh Nelson. The members of our Mitzvah Corps major implemented a compelling all-camp program focusing on mental health awareness. And Tuesday was one of our most exciting days of the summer, when participants and staff headed to New York City for a day filled with learning and fun.
This week was also filled with some extraordinary visitors. Of remarkable note was our visit from the newly installed fourth president of the URJ, Rabbi Rick Jacobs. Rabbi Jacobs joined on Wednesday evening for the close of our evening program and siyyum. His jam-packed day on Thursday started with joining the community for tefilah coordinated by our Creative Arts Major. Following services, Rabbi Jacobs addressed the teens and staff and shared thoughts about his plans to re-imagine Jewish life, and how each of us can be a partner on that journey. After his remarks, Rabbi Jacobs was presented with a compilation of findings from our Reform Judaism program last week, where teens identified their commitments to Reform Jewish life over the next 20 years, and ideas for priorities for the new URJ moving forward. The presentation on behalf of the teens was offered by NFTY President Evan Traylor (who’s posing with Rabbi Jacobs in the photo above at our Wednesday night program).
Rabbi Jacobs then went on the meet with several constituencies in camp, including the NFTY Board, our Resident Advisors, the Kutz Fellowship participants, a cross-section of Kutz participants, and a visit with our Mitzvah Corps program, the URJ’s longest running special needs camping program which is celebrating its 20th summer at Kutz. Over and over again, Rabbi Jacobs cited the teens and staff in the community as his vibrant partners in making change for our Reform Jewish future. The day was a whirlwind, and truly left all of us more profoundly impacted by the work of the URJ, and the extraordinary vision of Rabbi Jacobs.
As we reflect on so many milestones and opportunities from this past week, and now enter an even more fun-filled final week of camp, which will bring a host of exciting opportunities to our community. On behalf of the entire remarkable Kutz 2012 staff, we thank you for entrusting us with your most precious cargo, and we are so looking forward to making this last week of camp the best week of camp.