By Rabbi Micah Greenstein
Rabbi Greenstein is the Senior Rabbi of Temple Israel in Memphis, TN. He is the father of Cara (Songleader & Marketing Intern), Jake (Garin Counselor) and Julia (Talmidim Camper).
In my case, it’s none of the above. It’s Jewish summer camp.
While there are many worthy pieces to the Jewish identity jigsaw puzzle, in my rabbinic family, Jewish summer camp is the hands down winner. And I know the same is true for anyone whose children have experienced what mine have at camps like Henry S. Jacobs Camp. The Jewish enrichment, joy, and impact on the kids who come here is indelible and forever.
Full disclosure: I met my wife at a Jewish summer camp like this one (URJ Camp Coleman) when she was 9 and I was 12. Who knew?!
And this past weekend, before coming to camp to serve on faculty, I officiated at the wedding of a former Jacobs camper. The bridal party was like a photo album of this place – so many Jacobs alumni were in attendance to celebrate one of their own. As the groomsmen processed toward the chuppah, donning the kippot of the different universities they went on to attend, what was clear to me and so many others in attendance was that this place in Utica, this holy ground, is what these young adults share in common, and what has kept them tied to each other through the years.
Here at Camp, as I look around the dining hall at the kids swaying, hugging their counselors from here and Israel, and singing with new and old friends, the prayer of this rabbi is three words: May it continue.