Wait… you’re not Jewish? This is a question I get asked quite a bit here at HSJ. The answer is no, I’m not Jewish, but that hasn’t stopped me from falling in love with Jacobs Camp. I firmly believe that opportunities present themselves at the right time and just when you need them. When one opportunity fell through for me, my friend said “Do you want to work at summer camp?”. Well, growing up in California I attended some christian youth and family camps that are very similar to HSJ. I absolutely loved camp as a kid and I still love camp now. There was no way I was going to pass up this opportunity.
The first day of staff orientation was admittedly nerve-wracking; meeting a hundred people who’ve grown up together in such a tight-knit community. By the end of the first day, however, I knew I had made the right choice. I cannot even remember the last time I was so warmly welcomed into a community like this. My experiences here grow richer every day. Before coming to HSJ I had no idea there was so much I didn’t know about Jewish culture and religion. Now I’ve almost learned the entire Birkat Hamazon, experienced my first Shabbat, and, most importantly, been able to explore some deeper discussions with the Rabbinical students and visiting faculty. Turns out, immersing myself into an unfamiliar religion has propelled me into an intense motion of self-reflection and spiritual exploration, something I’ve left to the wayside for entirely too long now.
Aside from just my experience with the staff, the campers have also given me so much joy. I’m a bit older than the average counselor, so it’s been a long time since I’ve gotten to play outside like a kid all day long. Being around kids has been just the refreshing thing I needed.
There is no way I could have predicted how my experience would be here at Jacobs Camp, but it is an opportunity I’m so grateful to have been given. After only 4 weeks now, when I hear “welcome home” I truly feel it. As quoted by Rabbi Jordan Braunig during our recent faculty meeting “Make for me a mikdash, and I will dwell among you.” There is truly no better way to describe the magic that is Jacobs Camp.
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