By Lisa Tenenbaum, Assistant Limud Director
Since the summer of 2000, I have had the privileged of serving as part of the Leadership Team at CLC. I held several different positions, and was able to watch my own children , as well as dozens of campers, grow up here and take on leadership roles in the Jewish community. For the past decade, I have served as a member of the Limud (Jewish Education) team. To express my extreme Gratitude, or Hakarat HaTov, for being lucky enough to spend the past 20 summers here in the Berkshires, I wanted to highlight some of the lessons I have learned and the Jewish values that are practiced at CLC, as these can surely help guide us through our daily lives outside of the Bubble as well.
1- EVERYTHING tastes better with ranch dressing and/or hot sauce.
2- Be Flexible. G’mishut- which translates to flexibility- is crucial at camp, but it is certainly an invaluable trait no matter where you are. With changing weather, limited indoor spaces, and campers attending off camp activities, being able to pivot at a few moments notice is essential. That is why we train train camp staff, and I remind our teachers, to always be prepared with “back pocket games” and alternative plans. You must be prepared for any and all situations as they happen. It also requires Ometz Lev– or courage- to be able to go off in another direction and try new things.
3- Prayer becomes more joyful with upbeat music and some hand motions. The modern tunes are catchy- and the Hebrew with English translations is easy to understand. The movements help campers connect to the prayers and allow them to truly immerse themselves in the prayer service. At camp, we are encouraged to pray with our entire bodies, and this is is pure joy- Simchah.
4- Achrayut and Areyvut– which are responsibility and Interdependence, are necessary for the success of each and every program. From the waterfront to the ropes course, and from the sports fields to evening programs, staff must exhibit personal responsibility in performing their duties. They must also practice teamwork to coordinate these efforts to ensure that each and every program is meaningful and enjoyed by the campers. No business or organization can not operate successfully if its participants are not committed to their individual performance and working together to fulfill the groups mission.
5- Hakarat Hatov– Recognizing and appreciating the good. There are so many new opportunities available at camp- and the surroundings are naturally beautiful. Despite the fun but hectic schedule- it is so important to stop to feel the mountain breezes and hear the birds singing. Shabbat is the perfect time to do this- with more free time to explore your favorite things. Actually getting to slow down and enjoy our blessings in our holy camp community, is exactly what Shabbat is all about. All of us need to take more time to count our blessings each and every day- and to remember to take time on Shabbat to rest and reflect.
6- Finally, although this value may not have been defined by our ancient rabbis- it is certainly one of my favorites which is one of the staff’s core values at Crane Lake: Shiga’on, which is loosely defined as silliness or craziness. Shiga’on is really having fun- and being all in- even when the activity is messy or noisy or requires wearing costumes. It’s allowing ourselves to have fun, just like the children by participating completely with them. A little Shiga’on now and then can make us all happier.
I know that not every adult can get to spend time at one of our URJ camps, or Israel programs, and that I have been so fortunate to have had these opportunities. But, I urge you to help and encourage the children in your lives to have these transformative experiences- living and playing immersed in a kehillah kedoshah– a holy Jewish community, at one of our URJ summer programs.
Lisa Tenenbaum has served as the Assistant Director Limud for over 10 years, teaching our campers about our Jewish values and giving ‘Words of Wisdom’ to all. This is Lisa’s 19th year at Crane Lake. She went to the University of Rochester and is an educator in Florida.