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Summer 2017 07.14.17

We’re Members of the Jewish Camp Tribe

We’re Members of the Jewish Camp Tribe

By Mitch Morgan, Executive Director at Pinemere Camp

Not that you’re asking, but if you asked me what synagogue I belonged to, I would say that I belong to the Jewish Camp Synagogue. Every year we have nearly 100,000 members (campers and staff) and a long list of former members (alumni) that dream all year about coming to our synagogue. Our membership is growing and most of the time our sanctuary is outside, in the woods, by a lake, and somewhere special with a great view.

If you’re reading this, I’m going to make an assumption that you are in the Jewish world bubble (or at least close enough that you are clicking on a link). So… let’s have a little fire side chat about a key piece of Jewish life at camp, Shabbat, and what makes it so special. Those that know me would probably agree that I drank the Jewish Camp Kool-Aid (bug juice) a long time ago and have a deep love for all Jewish Camps.

I believe, deep in my heart, that what makes Shabbat special for many people is RUACH. The word RUACH will be defined by some of us as camp spirit. We picture cheering, dancing, and epic song sessions. Some of us might also define RUACH as wind or breath of life.

No matter how you define it, RUACH is what moves us and gives us energy. We can feel RUACH even though we can’t see it. RUACH is what moves us to put our arms around each other and sway during a prayer. It’s what makes us sing louder and louder. It’s what keeps us jumping higher and higher all summer long.

RUACH is energy, I believe it is what has connected so many of us to our personal Jewish identity.

Pinemere Camp’s Shabbat has a number of elements that are more or less the same as many other Jewish camps. We sing loudly, we wear white and we have RUACH on Shabbat. But one piece sticks out as unique.

Every Saturday morning after our Shabbat Service, the entire camp gathers under the Lower Maple tree for Sing. We’re pretty literal at Pinemere… so Sing is a time that we sing. Each week at Sing, we join together as a kehillah to sing old American folk music. A team a song leaders is joined by campers that have learned to play guitar (or other acoustic instruments) and alumni from all different generations. They play. And we all sing.

Shabbat Sing is our special thing that connects our 75 years of camp and connects 75 years of campers/staff to each other.

Watch the magic of Pinemere sing here!