web analytics
April 2, 2015 / 13 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


A Letter To My Camper

Teens-060812

You stood there now, wearing an oversized, faded flowered dress, your stringy, matted hair overgrown and sticking to your neck. Your misunderstanding of social cues and norms was sadly pushing you to be the centre of attention – negative attention.

“When you light the Shabbos candles, think of the week that past. Think of what you want, what you need, what you would like to pray for.”

The past week. You looked pensive and I too, thought back to the past week. It had started with Sarah not wanting to sit next to you on the bus, had continued with the girls snickering at your lisp and slightly slow way of talking, and had finished off today with a snide comment from Fiona, the ringleader, of “Is that your Shabbat dress Ariana? Where is it from?”

“If you had a great week, thank Hashem for it and ask that He give you another. If you had a tough week, this is your chance to pray that the coming week is better!”

You weren’t smart, but you were no fool. The simplest person can feel sad and I had watched the spark in your eyes diminish over the past few days. I, who had never felt hopeless at anything in my life, felt your eyes on me as I reprimanded the girls for their comments, pleading with me not to say anything because when I wasn’t there you only got it worse. And I had racked my brain to figure out how time and time again, Fiona managed to fix her eyes on me and turn the entire situation around to ensure her own innocence and, if anything, sterling behavior.

I was young. It was my first time being a counselor at a girls overnight camp and I had forgotten how cruel girls could be. Cunning and sly, just a gesture or a look could suggest a thousand words and evading trouble was easy that way.

“Now girls cover your eyes, say the bracha together, and pray.”

Eleven pairs of hands made three large circles in the air.

“Boruch atah Hashem Elokainu Melech haolam, asher k’dshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu l’hadlik ner shel Shabbat.”

There was quiet. Before I said my own bracha, I looked over at you again. It was with pain and shock that I saw your young shoulders shake with the cries of a ten-year-old girl. You may have been queer, eccentric, even and a little spaced out sometimes – but you had a heart and it was hurting. Your small hands covered the tears that were snaking down your face and suddenly your faded dress looked beautiful and your oily hair looked sleek and voluminous.

I felt my own eyes grow heavy with tears. Tears of helplessness and disappointment – in myself and in the girls I had in my care. I covered my eyes and felt the saltiness on my tongue. And I prayed, too.

Please, Hashem – give me the strength to help those who need it. Give me the strength to be discerning, understanding, bold and determined. Help me to advocate kindness, promote goodness and encourage acceptance.

And Hashem, please don’t let any of my girls cry next week when they light candles.

Blumie A.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “A Letter To My Camper”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Desperate crowd awaits relief aid at Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus.
ISIS Raids Palestinian Camp and Begins to Fulfill Netanyahu’s Prophecy
Latest Sections Stories
Food-Talk---Eller-logo

While we are all accustomed to the occasional recipe substitutions – swapping milk for creamer, applesauce for oil – gluten-free cooking is a whole different ballgame.

Until the year I decided to put a stop to all my tremors. I realized that if I wanted my family to experience Pesach and its preparations as uplifting and fulfilling, I’d have to relax and loosen up.

David looked up. “Hatzlacha, Dina,” he smiled. “I hope everything goes well.”

In 1756, when the ominous threat of Islamic terror against Jews reached Tunis as well, Friha became one of its tragic victims.

Are we allowed to lie for shalom bayis? It would seem so, but what might be a healthy guideline for when it’s okay and when it’s not?

The connection between what I experienced as a high school teenager and the adult I am today did not come easy to me.

Isn’t therapy about being yourself; aren’t there different ways for people to communicate with each other?

Jack was awarded a blue and gold first-place trophy, appropriately topped off with a golden bee.

Participating in ManiCures during the school day may feel like a break from learning, but the intended message to the students was loud and clear. Learning and chesed come in all forms, and can be fun.

Building campaign chairman Jack Gluck has led the effort over many years.

When using an extension cord always make sure to use the correct rated extension cord.

There was no question that when Mrs. Cohen entered the room to meet the teacher she was hostile from the outset.

More Articles from Blumie A.
Teens-060812

Dear Ariana,

It was a steep, downhill walk from our bunkhouse to the marquee where we would be lighting Shabbos candles. A weak sun sank lower into the mountains, the sky behind it a hazy yellow with streaks of pink weaving their way through purple accents.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/teens-twenties/a-letter-to-my-camper/2012/06/11/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: