Kol HaTnua - Voice of the Movement Summer 2018: Yachad at Tel Yehudah by Manni Burach
Every summer at camp is something magical. An escape from the realities of school and stress. And yet, there was something that stood out this summer at Camp Tel Yehudah. This summer my Shikvah (age group) at camp was called Yachad. Yachad means together in Hebrew, and quite literally sums up what the summer was all about. Yachad is the first year where campers from all four Young Judaea summer camps join together at Tel Yehudah. I transitioned from knowing 40 or so kids I went to junior camp with to learning the names of 100 kids from all over the country and a few across the globe.
At first, the transition was quite stressful and overwhelming. The first few days everyone was attached at the hip to the kids they’d grown up with at Sprout, CJ, Midwest, or Texas. These 4 camps became what made us different and what separated us from each other. But after a while, everyone came to the same realization that we all had one thing in common: we were all Judaeans. No matter what camp we had attended we had grown up singing the same songs, dancing the same dances, and learning how to incorporate the same values into our Jewish lives. Each camp had its own spin on our classic traditions. It turned out that in the end, the camps weren’t what separated us but what brought us together, b’yachad. The bonds I made this summer were so strong and so deep that they seem to me to be unbreakable.
I find myself these days in my room on FaceTime with my friends from Michigan, Georgia, North Carolina, Connecticut, Florida, New York, or Illinois. My mom tells me stories of when she would get in trouble for all the long-distance charges on her family’s phone bill because she had called camp friends from across the country. I think our love for our camp is something my mom and I can bond over. My summer at Camp Tel Yehudah created so many unlikely friendships that I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do anywhere else. Friendships that were forged on the basis of togetherness and acceptance, two values that Yachad instills in its campers.
~ Manni Burach is a 10th grader from Livingston, NJ and is currently the Merakezet Pirsum (Social Media and Communications) for the New Jersey Mazkirut (Teen Board)