By Terri & Dick Orgel
Terri & Dick, of Memphis, TN, are the grandparents of campers Mia Zimmerman, Teddy Ferguson and Hannah Orgel.
We have been involved with Jacobs Camp since our own kids (all 4 of them) began attending more than thirty years ago. All of them spent several years at camp. One was a unit head in the early 1980′s. At least one or two (maybe more) worked at Camp Dream Street. And now, some of them have their own children attending.
First session of this year, we had three grandchildren at Jacobs. We had not been there ourselves for several years, and so decided to go visit for a weekend and see our grandchildren who live in three different cities, and also see all the updates that have taken place.
When we arrived on Friday, the Garin campers were in the pool. Our two Garin kids were there and jumped out to say hi and give us big hugs. But they were quickly ready to get back in and be with their friends.
As we were walking to find our Talmidim camper, we heard a voice calling “Granny”! When I turned around, I was so happy to see a dear friend of our granddaughter who saw us and came running to greet us. She then ran to find our granddaughter and let her know we were there.
Soon it was Shabbat, and we were overwhelmed to see all the beautiful, clean, fresh-faced young people all dressed in white gathering for the Shabbat walk to dinner, led by Cara, the most wonderful songleader we have ever seen. We sat with our grandchildren for dinner and joined them for services. It was amazing.
We got phone calls from our kids wanting to know how their kids were doing and how they looked. We could not begin to convey the level of joy and Jewish camaraderie we saw there.
We know that many of the campers come from areas where there are no longer enough Jews to sustain even a community institution like a synagogue; but here, they all come together to become a most beautiful, caring Jewish community.
One of our kids even lives in a different region where there is a very well known and respected Jewish camp. But he chooses to send his kids to Jacobs because of how much his time here meant to him.
I have heard it said that the single most valuable Jewish experience young people can have is Jewish camp. Jacobs Camp is the absolute personification of this belief.
We love it and so do two more generations (so far!) of Orgel family members!