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My View Changed at HSJ

We asked our 2015 Chalutzimers to share what makes Jacobs Camp so special to them. Today, we are featuring Hannah Gelman from New Orleans and Haley Codron from Orlando, Florida. Their love and appreciation of Jacobs Camp rings true for so many. Enjoy their words!

My name is Hannah Gelman and this is my 7th summer at camp. I am beyond excited that Anna has asked me to write about what camp means to me as a Jew. I’ll start by saying that I’m from New Orleans, LA. Unlike a lot of people here, I actually have several Jewish friends and kids in my school. Before I came to camp, the word “Jewish,” had very little significance to me. As far as I was concerned, Judaism was a chore- it was nothing more than the few times a year I was forced to put on a fancy dress and sit in a freezing cold room for what felt like ages, listening to a bunch of old people chanting strange words that I didn’t know or wouldn’t understand, not to mention being dragged out of bed every Sunday morning. It wasn’t really until my first Talmidim summer when I really connected with my Jewish identity. It was no longer weird to participate in services. I no longer felt judged for being the last person standing during silent prayer. I wasn’t embarrassed to wear a Star of David around my neck or to have Hebrew on my shirt.

My name is Haley Codron and this is my 6th year, and 7th session at camp. When I think of Jacobs Camp, the first thing that comes to mind is the abundant friendships and role models I’ve established over the years. From gaga games with my Garin buddies to late night talks with my best friends, to constant advice from counselors, there are so many close knit relationships from generation to generation. Camp has become a place of true comfort and an easy path seek my true identity, within Judaism and overall virtues. It has become a place where I can pray anyway I want and for however long I like. Over the years I’ve gotten the opportunity to travel to such amazing places with my friends. Without camp, I would not be able to experience such breathtaking moments while being with people I truly love. Not only are there these moments with my best friends, but throughout these moments, my Judaism is constantly being enriched. No matter how different we are from each other, we will always be connected by religion. Jews aren’t often found in the South, HSJ has become a place for kids and adults to exercise pride in who they are and what they believe in. Overall, HSJ is a place to be proud, to fully appreciate moments, impact other lives while also having an effect on yourself and to find pure joy in Judaism, summer and the lives we live. HSJ is forever my home.

Your child can grow, make lifelong friendships, and mature in their Judaism at HSJ, too. Don’t forget the Early Bird ends Friday- Register your child today!