Written by Sabrina Brotons, Yachad merakezet (unit head) this summer at Tel Yehudah.
Many would agree with me that Camp Tel Yehudah is their home away from home. I've been very grateful for my Jewish education and more importantly what I've learned at TY that has shaped me into who I am today. Growing up in an "untraditional home" in an interfaith non-observant and unsafe neighborhood, my brother and I learned about Young Judaea from a friend at school and then we were hooked. After years of going to CYJ Sprout Lake and Tel Yehudah, and continuing as staff members at TY for several years, nothing has changed. The same camp traditions are still integral to my day-to-day life.
One of my favorite memories of camp has always been ending Shabbat together as a kehillah (community). We start off with singing songs about Israel, followed by havdallah and then Israeli dancing. I've always loved these times not only because of the uniqueness of Shabbat at camp, but the feeling I get to just be myself. When we sing "Jerusalem of Gold" and many other songs all together, I always feel a connection to Israel. I'm proud of what we as the Jewish people have brought into the world, and feel gratitude for where we are in this moment at camp, and how we can make an impact in the future. When I look at my campers or students singing, dancing, and continuing our Jewish rituals, I feel tremendous pride and satisfaction. We can all help implement L'Dor Vador--passing on our culture to the next generation--and I feel I would never be where I am without having amazing mentors from camp and in my life who have taught me so much. At camp we constantly challenge our campers to act Jewishly and think about what that means. These moments allow me to feel full of simcha (joy) about being a Jewish educator, continuing our Jewish mission of L'Dor Vador, and being back at home at Camp Tel Yehudah.