This summer, Hannah Elbaum, one of our incredible teen leaders, attended URJ Kutz Camp for the first time. I sat with Hannah and heard a little bit about her experience, and I was so impressed that I begged her to write a guest post for our blog! Hannah happily obliged, and I'll let her take it away from here!
In addition to all the other great staff, every week, camp hosts visiting faculty; musicians, rabbis, cantors, or other Jewish professionals who helped teach majors or lead services. Noah Aronson even stopped by for a few days!
Before camp, each participant chooses a major from a list of 10 that they will spend time studying throughout the session. Some of the majors are Ulpan Ha’aretz and Israeli Culture (Hebrew and Israel), Digital Media, Teva (Nature), Temple Youth Group Leadership and Hag’shama (mind, body and spirit). My major was Torah Corps: Jewish Studies. We focused on prayer: the “right” way to pray (by Jewish law), meanings of prayers and how to make it our own. It was great to be at a Jewish camp where we had services every day because we could put what we were learning into action either that night or the next morning.
There were so many other wonderful things it’s so hard to choose, but one of my favorite parts of camp were the daily services. On Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays we had morning services and read Torah. The rest of the week we had evening services. Each one was different because a different person or group planned each one. Most services took place in the Teyatron, a building literally on the lake. Three of the walls are open to the beautiful view of the nature on and across the water. We sat on benches painted by past generations of Kutzniks. During the silent prayer, it is a Kutz custom to go up to the railings and have a few moments just looking out at the lake by yourself, just you, your thoughts and arguably the most beautiful place in the world.
-Hannah Elbaum, 10th grade, BELY RCVP