I owe a good deal to Young Judaea: many of my closest friends, some of my most meaningful memories, and thanks to Parsha Players, the ability to cook up comedy about Bronze Age prophets on a tight deadline (I’m still waiting for the right professional opportunity to tap my compendium of Balak and Balaam jokes). For me, Young Judaea– especially TY and Year Course– was a place where I could immerse in a creativity-nurturing, intellectual, Israel-connected environment and forget that my “real” middle and high school life involved being mildly ostracized and highly asthmatic. To this day, I still get together with my Year Course friends here in New York City, where we carry on many of the same conversations we had in the Karmiel Merkaz Klita, but with fewer ex-Soviet deadlift champions suspiciously watching us through a cloud of hand-rolled cigarette smoke. I should also mention that I met my wife when we were counselors at Sprout Lake, so if any YJ parents are reading this, keep sending your kids to camp– your plan will work.

~ Jay Katzir, a Young Judaea alumnus is a former writer for the Stephen Colbert Show and will continue working with Colbert on his upcoming show.

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