After reading this great post on"Jewish Hogwarts" at the Rebbetzin's Husband it got me to thinking...
(To summarize, he compares Jewish summer camp to Hogwarts...Harry Potter discovers, when he attends Hogwarts, that there are others just like him! For many kids, going to Jewish summer camp is that same eye-opening experience.)
While here at OSRUI, I definitely think a lot about the choices that parents make when they decide to send their kids to this camp versus any other summer camp experience. We rabbis spend a lot of time discussing recruitment strategies, how to encourage our parents to send their kids here, and bemoaning the fact that we can't get more kids to join us here at our favorite summer spot.
To me, of course, it's a no-brainer. Summer is the time to connect with Jewish life. With the incredible opportunity to expand our Jewish horizons so accessible, I can't imagine how my kids would NOT go to Jewish summer camp.
It's a chance for them to meet other Jewish kids from all over.
It's a chance for them to see that Judaism is not limited to their home synagogue or even to their home!
It's a chance to learn in a totally informal environment about the joys of living a Jewish life.
It's a chance for them to see amazing Jewish role models in the staff who work so closely with each of our campers.
It's a chance to gain a sense of independence about their Jewish identity, realizing that they can "do Jewish" without the direct impetus of their parents. And that they can control that Jewish activity in some way.
Why NOT send your kids to Jewish camp????