Ruth Berkowitz, mother of five, has two manila folders stuffed with camp brochures, schedules and a pencil-drawn spreadsheet compiled of summer activities for her five children, including a column for each week.
Jewish camping, particularly overnight camping, has been documented to be one of the most effective ways to build a lasting and active connection to Jewish living.
The thing about reaching "I'll try it" is that you are daring to imagine that things can work out for the best, and that you can add another activity to the list of common likes.
This was by far the most spiritual moment in my life. I gazed up at the stars as I chanted the V'Ahavta prayer with amazing new friends, standing around the same rocks that our people had wandered past thousands of years before. My eyes couldn't help but tear up as we moved on to the Mi Chamocha, the song of freedom. At that moment I felt as though God truly was with us.
Living with the trauma and sorrow of losing a brother or sister in the Israel Defense Forces has scarred all of the 30 12- and 13-year-olds who spent 10 days at Camp Ramah in Ojai earlier this month. The Legacy/Moreshet program, sponsored by Friends of the IDF (FIDF), gave kids who lost a sibling or parent in combat a bar or bat mitzvah present that allowed them to have an American-style summer blast -- if not to forget, then at least to enjoy a respite from the sadness that follows them at home.
It was 1974, and gas had soared to $1.29 a gallon. Tens of thousands of educated, white-collar Americans imagined that they were truckers, squawking "breaker, breaker" and "10-4" into their CB radios, adopting handles like "Rubber Duck."
Many youngsters begin taking Judaism seriously as a result of their summer-camp experiences.