At OSRUI, we are often oblivious to the outside world and the passage of time. That is in fact one of the magical elements of summer camp…we wake each day and eat together and pray together and learn together and have amazing fun together as a community…but it is largely disconnected from normal time telling. We have no clocks on the walls and since no one carries a phone around with them, we take a respite from life dictated by time. While the staff is well aware of the passing of the minutes so they can keep the schedule moving smoothly…the campers are not. Unless it is Shabbat…it is sometimes hard to know what day it is. This is a wonderful thing.
That said, we certainly pause to celebrate important occasions when they arise. And our campers were treated to a wonderful evening last night as we celebrated the 4th of July. In terrific OSRUI fashion, all 500 of us living on Camp this week met for a quaint dinner all wearing red, white and blue. Compliments to the chef and the entire food service staff that feed so many people efficiently at the same time with food that is really quite good!
After dinner, everyone marched over to the Lorge Bitan (pavilion) where the Tiferet staff and campers hosted the Star Spangled Mesibah (party) – the theme of which was, “Where the Wild Things Are.” The mesibah is a fun celebration of Independence Day which includes a lot of Camp spirit, fun parodies and songs that Tiferet has spent the last couple of weeks preparing, and an all camp talent show. It was great fun!
In appropriate Jewish fashion, before the mesibah really got started, we paused to appreciate those who made sacrifices to ensure our freedom in the country. Briefly, we heard from Melinda Kane who came to tell us about her son Jeremy Kane who served our country and died in Afghanistan. This was an important moment for Melinda as she shared her story, but it was important for all of us too as we fulfilled the mitzvah of nichum avelim – comforting the mourners — as we heard her story and shared in her grief. It was also a moment in which, on some level conscious or otherwise, Israelis and Americans realized that we share so much…our Judaism, aspects of our culture, but also the quest for a safe and moderate world…a world we have not yet achieved, but one for which we all struggle and strive.
The evening ended with one of the most spectacular fireworks displays I have ever seen. OSRUI is so very lucky that the village of Lac La Belle launches their fireworks from our beach…which means we have front row seats from Bayit Hill. For 30 minutes (30 full minutes of high quality professional fireworks!!!), we enjoyed the show, which included a fun soundtrack broadcast across camp. I guarantee you will hear about it from your children!
And today we are back to our normal schedules with the alterations for heat that you heard about in another blog. It is hot here…but it is summer camp and everyone is having fun. The staff is outstanding and doing a great job of making hydration fun…lot of “toasts” with our water bottles and surprise water fights.
Being at Camp is a gift…and we are all having a great time!
Rabbi David Locketz is the Associate Rabbi at Bet Shalom Congregation in Minnetonka, Minnesota and is serving as the faculty member for Avodah this session.