There’s something about being at the URJ Camp Newman Jewish summer camp that reminds me of being at our Congregation Or Ami. Perhaps it is the fact that I am surrounded by so many Or Ami kids – Michelle and I are leading a delegation of about 18 this summer. Perhaps interacting here with so many current and former Or Ami interns – Rabbi Alissa Forrest visited, Educator Josh Barkin, Mishpacha teachers Jonathan Fisch-Rothstein, Jordana Chernow-Reader and Luke Reader, incoming Mishpacha Coordinator Sara Mason – brings Or Ami up here to the Napa Valley area.
However, it may just be the fact that Camp Newman shares similar values with Congregation Or Ami – a commitment to community, a depth of caring, the centrality of music and singing, a dedication to social justice, and an inspiring creativity. Or it may just be that Or Ami grew out of the experience of many people who grew up in the Reform Movement summer camps and NFTY (North American Federation of Temple Youth). Perhaps these creative Jewish institutions gave birth to the influences that shaped, and continue to shape, Or Ami. Now that is an article worth pondering.