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If You Had to Get Sick at Camp…

No one should end up in the infirmary during a summer at camp. Or God forbid, in the hospital. Summer is about freedom from all the cares in the world. But it occasionally it happens. And when it does, during an emergency, that’s when you can truly take measure of the place you send your children and your friends.

I have concluded a two-week stint at the URJ Camp Newman, a Jewish summer camp in Santa Rosa, CA. During those two weeks, we twice encountered medical situations, which allowed us to peer into the inner workings of our Mirpa’ah (Hebrew for infirmary). First, my little one got a fever (he’s fine now) and spent a few nights in the mirpa’ah. (He’s fine now.) Then, we had a late night experience, as the ambulance came to take an adult to the hospital. (He’s fine too.)

In both cases, we were treated to the professionalism of our Mirpa’ah doctors and nurses. They were clear headed, nurturing and compassionate, and appropriately strict. They balanced the medical and emotional needs of the individual with the safety of the camp as a whole. They are imitatio dei (imitators of God) as they work as rofei hacholim, healers of the sick.

My wife and I have now left Camp Newman, and therefore left our three precious children for the balance of the summer. Nonetheless, we shall sleep soundly, knowing that God-forbid something happens that affects their health, the camp is prepared, tried and tested, to respond with compassion and medical excellence.

So we send a hearty todah rabbah (thank you) and mazel tov (congratulations) to the first two week’s Mirpa’ah nurses and staff – Roberta, Lori, Lisa, Deepika, Roberta, Alyssa – and to the our Doctors – Greg, Steve, Mack and Joey. (My apologies if I missed someone.) I will sleep very well tonight knowing you are there with my children.

One comment

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thank you so much, Rabbi Paul, for your unique perspective and positive press for the tireless working and dedicated Mirpa-ah staff. We do this for the love of the Jewish Camp experience and the health and safety of all concerned.

    Roberta Bavin, CPNP, Camp Newman Infirmary Nurse

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