Special to the Journal
Every year I wait for the same exact thing. Year after year, I can’t wait for summer to start, because every summer I get to go to sleepaway camp, I get to go to my second home. This is a home filled with loving friendships, new and exciting activities, and a Jewish community. The first year I went to camp was 2013, I was nine at the time. I remember the day before camp I was ecstatic for the new adventures that would be poured down on me during the next month. I just couldn’t wait to go waterskiing for the first time or play basketball every day.
You know what is funny? The day before camp the following year I was even more excited than I was the year before. But this time, I was excited for something totally different. This year I couldn’t wait to see the friends that I made the year before. I had moved past the activities, and now I was looking forward to the people. You know why I couldn’t wait to see my friends at camp? All of them are Jewish. This is different than any of my other friends before. Although all of my camp friends are unique and different, we all shared one common trait. In the long run, that has proven to be something I have cherished and will never forget. At camp I don’t have to describe to my friends why I don’t eat bread for a week every spring because they do it too. At school if I whipped out a matzah and peanut butter sandwich I would get many glares and questions.
Camp has also taught me some things about my Jewish heritage that I didn’t know before. For instance, at home we do not celebrate Shabbat on a weekly basis, but at camp we do. I have learned many new Shabbat prayers and songs during the summer, and the best part is that I get to sing those along side all of my Jewish bunkmates.
Another example of camp teaching me about my Jewish heritage is during our weekly Israeli culture classes. I have been educated on topics ranging from holidays to the Holocaust. All of these lessons have proven to be very interesting to both me and my bunkmates. We go back to the bunk discussing the topic we learned that day, and we go back to culture each week with new questions and observations. I have learned over the summer that camp is the time and place that I can just let out my Jewish side, and to me that is pretty special.
Aidan New is a resident of Marblehead. He is thirteen years old and goes to Marblehead Veterans Middle School.