For our Closing Ceremony, chanichim (campers) from each chug (group) shared their final reflections with the entire camp. These powerful speeches are posted below:
Written by: Elan L.
Ten years ago, I spent my first summer at Camp Judaea. I made lasting friendships, had incredible experiences, and grew a strong connection to 48 Camp Judaea Lane. Before I knew it, my aunt was driving me to an entirely new world, where they told me to go meet unfamiliar people in an unfamiliar place.
It was obvious on the first day that there were Judaeans here from four junior camps. We were all together, but not yet a unified group. Over time, the community began to change. In B7, the divisions between CJ and Texas quickly fell away as we realized we could be unified without being uniform.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but the moment I noticed we had become one was the “Night of the 20th” peulat erev (evening program) when we sang around the bonfire. As I looked around, I could honestly say I loved the people I was with, and I was pretty sure they loved me back. It didn’t matter where we came from, it only mattered that we were here. That’s what’s great about this camp, we are a diverse Jewish community where we can meet the most amazing people who are both like us and completely different. I wouldn’t trade this summer for anything, not even a gumball, and I can’t wait to come back next year.
Written by: Rachel L.
Coming from Alumim, I was so excited to go on my Yachad trip. At Sprout Lake, my counselors had told me about their trips and the shichva (group) above me told me stories of being challenged and bonding with their friends.
This year I went on the biking trip, and to say I was nervous beforehand would be an understatement. Before the trip I was used to biking short distances without many challenges, but this was another thing altogether. During the four days, I was challenged more physically and mentally than I ever have been in my life. Each day I woke up dreading the hills I faced, but by the end of the day I was amazed by what my body had just accomplished.
One clear memory I have is from the last day of the trip. We were biking up Lebanon Road, one of the most difficult hills on the ride, when the sky opened up and it started pouring torrentially. All I could see was what was right in front of me, nothing behind me or any further ahead. It was then that it all clicked, and I realized I could do anything I set my mind to.
Talking to my friends on other trips, I heard about similar moments where they also unlocked their potential. Some went on trips like Kayaking and backpacking where they pushed their physical limits, while others challenged their mental boundaries on Photography and Social Action. These tests of will and character helped create new communities within our greater Yachad community, and I know that in all of these k’hilot (communities) we formed friendships that will last a lifetime.
Written by: Abigail S.
As we navigated the task of living b’yachad (together) on a practical level in our daily lives, we explored the nuances of community building in our educational peulot. We looked at groups and societies big and small, religious and secular, local and distant, to understand how a community functions. The essential questions that were turning in our heads all session included: what determines membership in a community, how do groups of people with conflicting values coexist and prosper, how does a society retain its identity and values while still welcoming strangers, what do we owe our communities and what do they owe us, how do these tensions manifest themselves in our home-lives, in camp, and in Israel.
In one activity, our counselors shared stories with us of people who immigrated to Israel from around the world. In another, we compared communities with which we chose to identify to those assigned to us. Though we didn’t always get 100% enthusiastic participation, I can confidently say that through all the value-ranking activities, social barometers, and build-your-dream-society exercises, all of us took away something of value. Community is complicated, but it is important to every one of us. This summer, our shared desire to live together as Jews and people came sharply into focus. I can’t wait for next year when we come back to Hadracha and learn how to be leaders and not simply examine the world around us, but learn how to change it and make it a better place.
Letiferet Tel Yehudah Ve’Medinat Yisrael!