Today is July 12, 2024 -

Congregation Sha'arey Israel

A Conservative Jewish Congregation serving the spiritual needs of the Middle Georgia Jewish community since 1904

611 First Street, Macon, GA 31201
Phone: (478) 745-4571

Mountaintop View

As I write these words, it’s the last Wednesday in May, just a few days past Shavuot. Today, I drove up to Ramah Darom in the mountains above Clayton, Georgia. Staff week is starting… soon hundreds of campers will be here — I think this is summer # 26 or 27. Flashback to a bus-ride with congregants to this very place — when this was the site of a future Camp Ramah. This was pre-Zohar & Maya (Maya is a counselor for Gesher, the oldest campers, this summer; Sharona is in year #20 as an educator up here.) I’ll just say — my mind is blown…all these years have flown by in the blink of an eye. The vision that has blossomed into this breathtaking camp is quite profound.

My mind also takes me back to a vision of two young Hebrew School boys, Al Bayme and Michael Chanin, talking about how wonderful Camp Judea was, what it was like to be in the Jewish world during the summer. I’m thinking of kids from CSI and TBI going to Ramah and Coleman and Bluestar and other excellent Jewish camps, and I must state the obvious: Jewish Summer Camp is such a powerful investment in our Jewish future. Kids from our small Kehillah link up with a network of peers from all over the Southeast.

When you consider where your Jewish philanthropic dollars will make a serious LOCAL impact, my message to you: Camp, Camp, Camp! If I had to enlarge on that a bit I’d add: Israel programs — summer, Junior year abroad, many other possibilities. Over the years, the Rabbi’s Discretionary Fund has enabled me to put money in the right place at the right time. Helping folks in a tight spot, putting music into Purim shows — making sure families can send their children to camp is vital. Camp is expensive. Our Kehillah’s sacred commitment: we need to make sure our community’s kids can be part of camp/Israel world.

Tomorrow morning, before I drive back down the mountain toward Macon, I’ll join in the morning prayers with this energetic staff of American and Israeli young adults — I’m excited for our shul kids who will return to Ramah and other camps — it’s such a blessed beautiful community to soak in. If you are able, please consider contributing toward kids attending camp.

I hope you all enjoy some summer rejuvenation — stay in touch.