Posted on May 21st, 2016
Camp Inspired Me
The summers I spent at Goldman Union Camp Institute (GUCI) were some of the best in my life – not only because I made some amazing friends who are still my best friends today, but because my camp experiences helped me figure out that I wanted to be a Jewish educator. The summer after I graduated from high school, I returned to GUCI as a first-year counselor. About to head off to college, making decisions about my future weighed heavily on my mind. I loved being a camp counselor even more than I had loved being a camper. Having an impact on kids and their Jewish engagement was so important to me, and I thought to myself, “I wish I could be a camp counselor forever.” Surrounded by role models like my beloved camp director, Rabbi Ron Klotz, and my unit head, then-rabbinic student Phyllis Sommer, I realized that dream wasn’t so farfetched and that a career in Jewish education might be for me.
Six years later, I arrived at HUC’s Rhea Hirsch School of Education and School of Jewish Communal Service ready to pursue a career in Jewish camping or some other type of “informal education” since I had hated Sunday School (who didn’t?). During my three years at HUC, thanks to guidance from mentors like Dr. Michael Zeldin and Marisa Kaiser, RJE, I decided that as a Jewish educator, I had a responsibility to work to improve all models of Jewish education. Today, as I work in congregational education, I am grateful for the inspiration that camp gave me to make our students’ Jewish experiences engaging and fun!