At Henry S. Jacobs Camp, campers are surrounded by Torah. Whether in the form of story, prayer, or actions, Torah is in the air and on our tongues. This is part of the Jacobs Magic I am proud to witness and facilitate as a visiting Educator (and parent of two campers.)
At Jacobs Camp there are planned moments of Torah such as during worship, at education hour, and at bedtime cabin prayers. Staff and faculty are charged with helping campers learn new Jewish skills and live Jewish values. Equally important are the unplanned moments of Torah that exist at camp, such as receiving a needed hug, giving a helping hand, and starting a conversation about God and the universe inevitably during bedtime.
Yes, there is no doubt that Torah metaphorically surrounds us at camp.
Today, however, some campers were physically surrounded by Torah. As part of Kehillah, the education hour for 3rd-5th graders, counselors and I took out a Torah scroll and unrolled it making a circle of Torah around the campers. We wrapped them in our most precious gift. The campers were literally surrounded by Torah.
For many it was the first time seeing words of Torah up close. They asked questions and we sang “Sweet As Honey.” This was a planned Jewish experience.
Unplanned, I turned toward the songleader who was one of adults holding the Torah and my eye immediately caught the words of the Sh’ma, the watchword of our faith. I pointed it out to the campers and to my surprise they immediately starting singing. This was a moment of unplanned joy and Torah living that I will take home and treasure.
Whether in word or deed, planned or spontaneous, Torah is alive, surrounding our Jewish children here at camp. May it always be so.
Andrea Fleekop, Reform Jewish Educator
Director, School for Jewish Living
Temple Beth El of Pensacola, FL