Camp Newman 2008/5768… We’re back!
Our two boys graduated from their respective Jewish schools – Daniel from what we call “Kadeshel” (officially Kadima-Heschel West Middle School) and Noah from Heschel West Jewish Day School. The ceremonies were meaningful and fun. But for the two boys, and their sister Rachel, these experiences merely served as the last events separating them from their true love – getting back to Camp.
The URJ (Union for Reform Judaism’s) Camp Newman sits among the most beautiful Northern California mountains and greenery, just between Napa and Sonoma wine country. For mom and dad, it is a fresh air breather, after a frenetic two months of school, finals, synagogue year end activities and more. For our three kids, Camp is that special place that invites them to be joyous, Jewish and free.
Moments after Noah’s graduation concluded (he eschewed the various parties to get up to camp), we shoehorned suitcases for six (us five and our niece) and five passengers (Rachel would fly up later) into the Honda Odyssey van for the trek north. Between movie viewing and radio station surfing, the talk kept turning back to camp: favorite activities, camp trivia, who’s my counselor gonna be… For Michelle and I, alumni of various Jewish summer camps, this was music to our ears. We know our children have had poignant Jewish experiences at their Jewish day schools (including the New Jewish Community High School) and at Congregation Or Ami. And that the children enjoy their experiences there. But camp offers much of the same, minus the homework, tests and (for some reason), without the social pressure that they even find at school.
When we turned into the Camp property, the screaming began! Shrieks of joy, cries of “check that out” and “look over there.” No sooner did the van stop at our faculty cabin, than the boys bounced out and raced off with their friends, to do a quick, late night survey of the expected and the new at Camp. One happy bunch of campers, we are…