We create a supportive and enjoyable Jewish environment that promotes Jewish identity, continuity and community. We enhance Jewish learning through meaningful cultural activities in our camp rituals and traditions, including:
• Singing and dancing
• Ruach (spirit)
• Judaica/Jewish art
• Use of Hebrew words in daily schedule, activities and programs
• Kesher (connection) to Israel and Israeli culture
Living Jewishly at EKC encompasses values rooted in our Jewish heritage, which set the tone for daily life at camp and inspire children, staff, parents and alumni. Examples of the values we instill are kovod (respect), derekh eretz (appropriate behavior) rachmanut (compassion), tzedakah (righteousness), gemilut chasadim (acts of loving kindness) and hachnasat orchim (hospitality to guests). EKC provides campers with a connection to Israel. Israeli shlichim (emissaries) as well as Israeli campers are part of EKC.
In 2007, EKC became the first overnight camp in the JCC movement to develop a leadership and experiential Israel seminar for all Counselors in Training. Our goal is for every staff member at Emma Kaufmann Camp to have had a significant Israel experience. The camp community welcomes Shabbat with spirit and song. On Fridays, the camp day ends an hour earlier than normal to give campers time to clean their bunks and prepare for Shabbat. Friday evening begins with our song-leaders playing music as the camp walks together to the outdoor amphitheater. Campers are dressed in white as a reminder of the purity of Shabbat. After services, dinner begins with the lighting of the candles, kiddush (prayer over wine) and prayer over the challah. A traditional Shabbat meal starts with EKC’s famous matzah balls, challah, and a chicken or brisket entree. At the conclusion of dinner, EKC’s song-leaders lead the camp in a spirited song session.
Saturday morning begins with a “lazy” breakfast where campers and staff can get something to eat any time between 8:00 and 9:45 am. Services follow and include songs, dramatic presentations of the Torah portion and traditional prayers.
Saturday activities have a relaxed focus and are based on a theme. Activities on Saturdays also include swimming, sports and general relaxation. After dinner we have our Shabbat Concert, where campers and staff perform “live” on stage—performances range from singing, dancing, and other skits and “shticks.” Following Shabbat Concert is a brief all-camp havdallah service signaling the end of Shabbat and the beginning of the new week.