Exploring Perlman Camp’s Jewish Identity
Blog Post contributed by Rebecca Kotok, Hiddur Committee Member and mom of Ella and Ruby
Ask your child this question: What makes Perlman a Jewish camp?
What did they say?
Maybe they mentioned Israeli dancing on the tennis courts? Singing “Birkat” after meals? All-camp Friday night services? Jewish counselors? Kosher food? Being with Jewish friends? Shabbat morning puppet show?
Thanks to the Hiddur Initiative, a grant from the Foundation for Jewish Camping, Perlman staff and lay leaders are asking – and answering – the same question. What makes Perlman a Jewish camp? What are the core Jewish values of Perlman and how are conveyed to — and experienced by — campers and staff?
Hiddur Mitzvah literally means, “the beautification of a mitzvah,” and refers to actions that glorify, or beautify, the observances and celebrations within Jewish tradition. The Hiddur Initiative is allowing Perlman staff and leaders to examine and re-envision what is means to BE and to DO Jewish at camp.
This month, we — Camp Director Rachel, Judaics Director Candice, and Perlman parent and Hiddur Committee member, Rebecca Kotok (mom of campers Ella and Ruby) — traveled to Simi Valley, CA to gather with other camps who are also part of the Hiddur Initiative. For three days, representatives from eight participating camps shared their Hiddur journeys. We found it invaluable to collaborate with like-minded camps who are also embarking on their journey to examine and amplify “Jewish” at camp.
In just one month, we will celebrate the holiday of Passover which celebrates the Jewish people’s exodus from Egypt. The celebration of Passover is centered around asking questions. In that spirit, we leave you with some questions of our own.
What does Jewish feel like, look like and sound like at Perlman?
Who do we want our campers to be Jewishly before, during, and after camp?
How can we enhance, amplify or beautify our Jewish traditions at camp?
Email your – or your children’s – answers to Candice at Candice@perlmancamp.org.
Chag Sameach – have a festive Purim and a wonderful Passover!