Jews Like Me

By Aimee Ellis At Jewish summer camp (Camp Tawonga, to be specific), I felt a little different than the other campers. I wasn’t raised religiously Jewish and was also from a lower income interfaith family. I attended public school with mostly non-white students and had never been to a synagogue in my life. I didn’t […]

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Why a Raisin Has Never Tasted So Good

I always spend some time as Rabbi in Residence at Camp Tawonga in California each summer, and it is always a highlight of my year. Camp’s Jewish theme changes each time, and this year we are focusing on the word from Torah “Hineni,” which means “I am present.” Many biblical heroes, notably Moses at the […]

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10 Months for 2

The need to belong is part of the human condition. We all want to feel a sense of home, we seek it out, we write songs and poetry about it and we hold on for dear life when we find it. I figured out how to belong to Judaism at camp. My Jewish camp was […]

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We’re Mostly Jewish

I spent last week at California’s Camp Tawonga as the rabbi on staff for their “Taste of Camp” (a six-day introduction to the camp experience for kids who aren’t ready for a longer session yet). I overheard two 8- or 9-year-olds getting to know each other’s backgrounds on the way back to the cabin. Excitedly, […]

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“How We Be” – Our Day at Camp JRF

Everyone stand in a big circle. If you have a parent who is not Jewish, take a step inside the circle. Stay there. Now, if you are still in the outside circle, and you have a close relative who is not Jewish, take a step inside the circle.  Everyone looked around and saw that nearly […]

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Sammy with a camp friend

Community: It’s What Makes Camp Special

Last summer I wrote about that sometimes-indescribable element that makes Jewish summer camp special (See Jewish Summer Camp’s X Factor). I said that I thought Jewish summer camp’s specialness came from its sense of community and that feeling was recently reinforced when my husband and I brought our son to camp last week. On the […]

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How to Afford a Jewish Education

Classist assumptions in the Jewish community can make it tough to educate your children if you’re not as well-off as Jewish institutions assume you are.

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My Daughter Is Going to Jewish Camp: Am I Ready?

Personal narrative from a Protestant dad raising Jewish kids about his hesitation to send his daughter to Jewish summer camp.

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Sweet And Loeb: Lisa Loeb’s Album “Cake and Pie” Is a Salute to Wanting It All

Profile of Lisa Loeb, a folk rock musician made famous in the 1990’s by her hit single “Stay” and who grew up Jewish in a largely non-Jewish environment.

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