A year ago Sunday, we were attending the URJ Goldman Union Camp Institute (GUCI) in Zionsville, IN, when three members of our camp community were unexpectedly struck by lightning on a clear blue day.
One of our fellow campers, Ethan Kadish, was, like many of us, simply enjoying the day on the sports field when the lighting strike occurred. One year later, he is still on the road to recovery back home in Ohio. The community came together that day as we prayed as one for Ethan’s recovery.
That same sense of wholeness that united us in spirit and love on year ago is also found here at URJ Kutz camp this week. The campers at Kutz were surprised yesterday when what was supposed to be a regular program honoring Canada Day turned into a terrific display of superheroes. Each Avenger-themed superhero represented the four colored teams of our Maccabiah Games – our all=camp color war celebrating sports, arts, smarts, and teamwork over a 24-hour period of fun-filled competition.
Today, Maccabiah wasn’t just about showing ruach (spirit) in a friendly competition. We also collaborated as a community to raise money, support, and awareness for a cause close to our hearts: Team Ethan. All funds donated to Team Ethan support the steep medical costs required to help Ethan recover from injuries sustained as a result of this heartbreaking incident. Our initial goal was to raise $1,800 in 24 hours by harnessing our spheres of influence via social media, specifically Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. To our surprise and delight, we not only met but exceeded our goal – in less than two hours! And the support didn’t stop there. We immediately raised our goal to $3,600 and once again surpassed it, raising it again to $5,400 this morning. The ruach continued as we discussed exciting opportunities to help spread the word about Ethan’s recovery and Team Ethan’s work.
Kutz participants are proud to support one of our sister camps and the broader URJ camping community as a whole. While our campaign has concluded – at the poignant and impressive dollar amount of $5,454 – we encourage our entire extended community to continue to support the Kadish family by donating to this very worthy cause. Please visit JoinTeamEthan.org for regular updates and opportunities to donate.
Lexie Bauechamp and Cooper Mannel are participants at Kutz this summer, and are members of The Temple in Louisville, KY. They are both active in their TYG, TiLTY, as well as NFTY-Ohio Valley Region.
Jordan Pelavin also contributed to this piece. Jordan is currently serving as the co-program coordinator at Kutz Camp this summer. She is a proud alumna of URJ Camp Harlam.