May 30, 2021
Being Jewish at Emma Kaufmann Camp
By Aaron Cantor
Our brand of Jewish overnight camping can be summarized as:
Connections – Values – Growth – Fun
Campers and staff experience these 4 frames in every aspect of camp, from waterfront to horseback riding, aquatics to arts and crafts, low ropes to high ropes and especially in every aspect of EKC that makes it a beloved Jewish camp community.
The Jewish experience at EKC is one that ushers in a feeling for our campers and staff that they are connected to one another, to past generations, to those yet to come and to Jews around the world in Israel and beyond. They witness role models living the values that matter most in being a mensch, the quintessential human being who acts based on concern for others. They grow as confident and proud members of the Jewish community ready to apply their EKC summer community experience to their year-round experiences. Throughout it all, they have fun, the kind of fun that makes a difference deep down inside.
Our Jewish values for Summer 2021 include:
- JOY – Simchah – A feeling of great happiness.
- SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY – Achrayut – A moral belief where we as individuals, have a responsibility toward the larger society.
- COURAGE – Ometz lev – The ability to do something that frightens one.
- LEADERSHIP – Manhigut – A practical skill regarding the ability of an individual to “lead” or guide other individuals, teams, or entire organizations.
- PATIENCE – Savlanut – The capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.
- KINDNESS – Chesed – The quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.
- CURIOSITY – Sakranut – A strong desire to know or learn something.
We use these values to help campers and staff become the best versions of themselves today and in the future. These values guide our interactions daily as we strive to live more intentionally with each other.
Our Jewish Educator coordinates Jewish life throughout the summer helping staff and campers to identify Jewish Teachable Moments (JTM) when our values are elevated through action and reflective conversation. Every day, every staff member guides our community in words of gratitude for the food we eat, values-based interactions in every corner of camp, Shehechiyanu Moments that celebrate individual and collective successes, and end of day cabin based sikkumim that help us all reflect on the connections, the growth, the values and the fun we experienced that day.
Something special happens on Friday afternoons as camp slows down from its weekday hussle and bussle. Everyone turns to the three characteristics that have made Shabbat a unique weekly celebration through the generations of our people and the generations at camp.
- Intentional Sacred Time – Kedushah – We make time for Shabbat and its special activities.
- Rest – Menuchah – We pause to refresh as individuals and as a community.
- Joy – Oneg – We enjoy each other through special food, special settings and special activities.
Our Jewish Educator coordinates with staff and campers to fill Shabbat with prayer, song and ritual on Friday night, Saturday morning and Saturday evening. Dressed in white, our community enters a dining room that has been set with tablecloths and filled with the aromas of Shabbat classics and the sounds of beloved music. Programming on Shabbat offers opportunities to reflect on the big stories of our people, to recharge our batteries and to enthusiastically embrace the journey to become better versions of ourselves.
This is EKC:
Connections – Values – Growth – Fun
See you all soon!