Sharing the thank you letter I sent to the directors at URJ Camp Newman in Santa Rosa, CA following the wonderful summer I spent on faculty at my childhood camp. It was such an honor to be a camp rabbi!
Dear Ruben, Erin and Allie,
I wanted to write you all a (much) belated note and thank you so much for welcoming me and my family back home to Camp Newman last summer. We had such a wonderful time at camp.
I am grateful that I was able to give back to the community that is such a part of my identity. I loved every minute of being on faculty. Of course, nothing is like Shabbat at camp. But also, I loved the everyday camp minutes, so very many of them: going on the “Novernight” and telling stories at the campfire ring; participating in a Chayim girls cabin time; painting toenails with campers to prepare for Shabbat; checking in on a homesick camper; starting lanyards by the art tables; sitting with counselors and listening to their hopes and fears about college; mentoring rabbinic students as they prepared their first High Holy Day sermons; catching the “ah-ha” moments in the high school study sessions; working with campers to incorporate movement and art and storytelling into tefillah; getting to know and work with the talented and caring staff and counselors in my session and throughout camp. It was such a gift to be a part of camp.
Thank you also for caring so wonderfully for my children. The Camp Katan staff were so patient and understanding. My kids had a great time – and they still talk about camp all the time!
Writing this letter, next summer seems so very far away. But we know that it will come sooner than we might think – and we hope to be able to return home to Camp Newman again.
Wishing you all a shana tova,
Rabbi Leah Doberne-Schor