Jacobs Camp, the Jewish place at a southern pace. If that pace is staying active from morning to night, then the description fits perfectly! Ever since its founding in 1970, the children of my wonderful temple, Congregation Gemiluth Chassodim in Alexandria, Louisiana have been attending Jacobs camp.
I was soon welcomed with open arms and smiling faces from the moment I entered the gates. As this was my second year on faculty, I knew what all the buildings were called, and the quickest paths from one side of camp to the other. It was not long after I arrived that I felt like a camper again: swimming with the maskilimers in the pool, cheering on the gariners when they played gaga before dinner, singing and dancing to the latest camp songs, and learning the clean-up patterns of the cheder ochel, the dining hall. And then there was Shabbat! If you don’t think your children get the idea behind this key Jewish once-a-week occurrence, think again. Campers from eight to 14 and beyond, praying whole-heartedly with such ruach (spirit) that I wish I could bottle it up and bring it back to Louisiana!
There is something very special about the camp community. Nowhere else is there such talent and skill amassed in one place, and all with one common purpose: to create positive Jewish memories for everyone there: the campers, the faculty and the staff. We sing, we dance, we tell stories, perform skits, all while preparing fantastic programming. With every conversation had at camp, with every high-five, with every encouraging remark- inspiration, and engagement connected kids to their Judaism, their community, and even their innermost self.
Thank you, Jacobs camp, for providing a wonderful, nurturing home for the next generation of Judaism. I look forward to spending many more summers with y’all!
-Rabbi Cantor Raina Siroty
Congregation Gemiluth Chassodim