Camp Judah West, which has run travel and sports camps in West Los Angeles for the past four years, has procured a rental location near San Diego and is organizing a five-week summer camp session based on the ideals of Jewish camping, Zionism and Torah.
And let me tell you, there's nothing quite like a Jewish summer camp. At a time when Jewish identity struggles to compete with the complexities and distractions of the 21st century, the Jewish summer camp experience has somehow continued to thrive on its simplicity.
Nestled deep within a Malibu canyon off the Pacific Coast Highway, the Shalom Institute, a Jewish summer camp and nature center, has planted an extensive organic garden on its grounds this year and plans to incorporate the age-old tradition of farming into its summer programs.
God spoke to me once when I was 12 years old. Although it happened years ago, I remember it as clearly as if it were today. Revelation is a tricky thing. I am reminded of the Midrash that when God gave the commandments at Mt. Sinai, God speaks to the Children of Israel in a divine voice so powerful they are too terrified to hear anything beyond the very first word of the first commandment. Since even that was too much to bear, God arranged it so they only heard the first letter of the first word. The first word is Anohi ("I am"), and the first letter is an alef, which is silent. So the rabbis teach us that what the Jewish people heard when God spoke was the Divine Silence of the mitzvot. Within that Divine Silence, each woman and man experienced her or his own unique divine revelation.