A Fall Letter

Dear URJ Camp Newman Community,

Fall has come to URJ Camp Newman, our home away from home.  The leaves are changing and we are hard at work getting ready for next summer. It’s a perfect time of year to reflect on the beauty and purpose of Jewish summer camp.

photo 1The mission of URJ Camp Newman is to bring out the best in our children, staff and faculty and to celebrate the joy of Jewish living.  The High Holy Day season, followed by Sukkot and Simcha Torah, speak perfectly to our purpose and philosophy as a living Jewish community.  We begin by celebrating the Jewish New Year, followed by a period of introspection and understanding of our divine gifts; then we celebrate with joy and Torah.

One of our camp guiding principles is “Betzelem Elohim”, that we are all created in a divine image and our divine gifts help shape our world. We seek to bring forth and celebrate the unique gifts of every child and staff member. By treating each other with “Gimilut Chasadim”, acts of loving kindness, we create an environment where children are free to express their true selves.  The American Camping Association, as well as other institutions, have found that resident camping is one of the most effective ways to boost children’s self-esteem.  I can recall countless times over my career hearing children, staff and parents say, “I am at my best when I am at camp and these values have shaped my life.”

photo 2

Years ago, one of our camp director’s, Sam Roberts (who will be celebrating his 18th “chai” year at camp) exclaimed, “I love being Jewish!” onlyto be met with hundreds of campers yelling back “I love being Jewish!”  Implicit in the message and core to our philosophy, is that living Judaism is joyful.  A lifelong love of Judaism begins with summer days filled with recreational, cultural and religious activities that are filled with magic.

When we ask our campers what they love most about camp, the top three responses are “Shabbat”, “Friends” and “The Alpine Tower.” Shabbat is the peaceful highlight of each camp week, Friends are the camp connections made for life, and the Alpine Tower is the adventure and thrill of camp living.

This week, we celebrate Sukkot followed by Simcha Torah.  Like Camp, these holidays center around the joy of being Jewish and the joy of Torah.  We are all blessed to have our URJ Camp Newman as a place where this joy continues all summer.  Thank you all for being a part of our community.

L’shalom,
The Camp Newman Family

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