At Pinemere Camp we want the fact that we are a Jewish camp to mean a lot more than that we have services on Friday night and Saturday mornings and keep a Kosher kitchen. We aspire to incorporate Jewish values, Jewish teachings, and Hebrew language into all of our activities – whether it’s by referring to the lake in Hebrew as the “agam” and the pool as the “breicha,” by learning about Rosh HaShanah while baking apple cakes and honey cakes, or by incorporating the values of “shalom bayit” (peace in the home – and by extension, the camp bunk) into our bunk activities.
In our outdoor nature program, campers learn from Stacy Grossfeld, our nature specialist, about the Jewish value of being “shomrei adamah” – keepers of the earth. As they learn how to grow and tend to plants, the campers learn that we have to take care of the plants, just as they take care of us.
Campers are actively involved with Stacy in beautifying our camp community. Every Friday a different bunk works with her to create flower arrangements which decorate our camp Shabbat tables. Stacy explains to the campers that unlike the busy days of the rest of our week, Shabbat is a time for relaxation and a time to appreciate the beauty of creation and the natural world around us. Our campers learn that by creating special Shabbat flower arrangements, they are taking part in the Jewish act of “hiddur mitzvah” – they are beautifying that which is sacred in their lives. Campers also pick and learn about spices that are used as the “b’samim” (spices) in our Havdalah service which we all celebrate together at the end of Shabbat.
Campers have fun in nature while they learn about Judaism! And as with much good informal education, they are often having so much fun that they do not even realize how much they are learning.
–Rabbi Robyn Frisch, Jewish Program Supervisor, Pinemere Camp