A Special Day at Camp Newman

100_3910For 33 of the last 37 years, I have served as part of the Rabbinic faculty of URJ Camp Swig-Newman. For the past four years I have brought my now seven year old granddaughter to camp with me. I have had many wonderful experiences at Camp, but the one I had last night exceeded them all.

Last night we affixed mezzuzot to the new cabins built at Camp Newman during this past year. The camp staff joined together in front of these cabins (the campers were to arrive the next day) and sang a couple of Hebrew songs. After the singing ended, we divided into groups of about 20 and set off to dedicate our new cabins. As we affixed a mezuzah to one of the doors, my granddaughter, Anna, asked me if she could pound in one of the nails. I picked her up, handed her the hammer, and watched her help dedicate this cabin which would soon house campers whose lives would be enriched at camp.

Tears welled up in my eyes as Anna performed the act of affixing the mezuzah. I was teary because she was participating in yet another generation’s attachment to Judaism and Jewish life. I was teary because she was so excited to do this.  I was teary because I have given much time and energy to help make Camp  Newman the wonderful place that it is and now I was holding my granddaughter who was helping to dedicate a cabin she might one time use and  which, the next day, would house campers experiencing a living , loving Judaism.

I am blessed to have the privilege of being a Rabbi on staff.


Rabbi Steve Chester

One Response to A Special Day at Camp Newman

  1. Beth Eiselman June 24, 2013 at 5:19 pm #

    Those are exactly my sentiments when I see my own grandchildren loving and living Jewishly.
    Shabbat at Newman makes me tear up, too.
    We are coming up the 19 July–
    If you see Simona Lewis, tell her Granny says “hi”–Julie’s oldest, and my grandchild #2.
    Adam , #1, is at Camp Stone in PA for a month.

    When are you coming back from Newman?
    ps–My whole family, children and grandchildren, went with me in 2008 to Swig to “decommission” the chapel etc. But we ended up not removing the mezuzah, as it wasnt the “jewish” thing to do.

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