This week we read parshat Tazria. The parsha explains the laws for isolation after childbirth and isolation in cases of tzaraat, a skin disease. It’s not a particularly upbeat parsha to read, that’s for sure.
But in many ways, reading about the rules for isolation and re-entry into the community makes me think about camp. In particular, returning to camp after time away. Both after the year of not being there in 2020 and just every year of returning to camp after many months away from it, arriving back at camp is an indescribable feeling.
When I think about it, I have only spent a matter of weeks with my camp friends over the years. And yet my camp friends are some of my best friends. Some of them live across the country from me. So emerging from that isolation of being separated from them is really special. Running to hug my friend Sarit this year as she came up over the givah (hill) after flying in from the east coast was a moment I had waited for for two long years. On the first night of camp, while doing a (literal) icebreaker (answering icebreaker questions while holding melting ice), someone asked the question “If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?” And many of us answered “Here. Right here.”
Camp is only a few short weeks out of a long year. But that’s part of the beauty of it. Camp is a sacred oasis in time, and while we’re there, time actually feels almost nonexistent. It’s because we only get to be there for a few weeks of the year that camp is so special.
In reading Tazria, I am reminded how lucky I am to get to come back to the kehillah kedoshah (holy community) of camp each year after a period of separation from it. I love camp more than I’ll ever be able to express: my friends, the whole community, and the energy and ruach of being there. I am immensely thankful to everyone at camp, and to all the people who welcome us back from isolation each year for a sacred time unlike any other.
Eliana Roy is a 12th grade student at Kehillah High School and a founding Ramah Galim camper who will be returning on staff this summer for the first time as a Madricha (Counselor).