Jewish Living Up At Maple Lake: My Experience On Faculty

By: Rabbi Erin Polansky, Neshamah Congregation of York Region

Camp is the best!” I find myself saying to my students and families of my
congregation.  Now that I’m sitting down to write about why Camp George is
the best experience a family can give a child I am forced to consider why.
Why is Camp George the best? It just is.

Erin Polansky blogAnd that is the answer. It IS because camp is the place where campers get to BE. They get to BE who they are, BE who they are becoming, and discover what all of that becoming means.

When Moses goes to camp…so to speak…he encounters God in the wilderness. Moses asks for God’s name, and God’s response is: Eheye Asher Eheye, which is usually translated as, “I am what I am,” but I prefer: “I will be what I am becoming.” (Eheye is the first person future singular form of the verb “to be.”)

Moses could only understand the process of becoming once he
was away from his home, from the constant gaze of those who have
expectations as to what he would or should become. It was only in the
wilderness that Moses could understand that just like God, he too was in the
process of becoming.

We are meant to emulate God. If God is in process, then we
must be in process as well.Camp George is the ideal place to grow—emotionally, physically, spiritually—surrounded by peers who are also growing, changing and challenging expectations of who they are becoming,  At Camp George, our children have the chance to find out who they really are and to push themselves to be the best “me” that they can be.

This is true for faculty as well. As educators, we have the opportunity to try new approaches to educating our students. We can venture out into the wilderness and challenge our students, and ourselves, to think in different ways. We can think big and creatively about the type of programming we want to create. As professionals, we have the chance to push our boundaries, collaborate with other professionals we wouldn’t otherwise meet, open our eyes to new possibilities, and become better at what we do.

What’s exciting about all of this is that the learning does not stay in the wilderness–it does not remain at camp. It comes home with us and enriches our synagogues and schools, not only through the professionals who have the good fortune to serve on faculty at Camp George, but also through the students, counselors and song leaders who come home with new ideas and enthusiasm for learning and doing Jewish.

Can’t wait for summer 2013!

 

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