L’Dor V’Dor: Passing Down the Magic of Camp Kalsman

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By Sarah Moody, Machon Director

Lately, all the memories popping up on my Facebook are memories of my first five summers at URJ Camp Kalsman. Last week, a photo of my very first Shabbat at camp with campers showed up. I remember that cabin so clearly—my campers were creative, compassionate, and called me mom whenever I told them it was time for lights out. That cabin taught me, a nervous newcomer, all about the magic of camp. They showed me that camp isn’t just about climbing the Alpine tower, canoeing on the lake, or Shabbat shira.  

The magic of camp is really in the nuances of the moments we create together: the way your cabin cheers you on when you get nervous halfway up the tower, the way your voices echo when you sing Hashkiveinu during sunset on the lake, the way the energy builds during Shabbat shira until everyone is dancing together. By the time that first cabin of campers left, I understood the unbelievable treasure that is this place and this community.

I spent a few years away from Camp Kalsman learning in Israel and starting rabbinical school at HUC-JIR, but I knew this summer that it was time to come home to teach the next generation of Kalsman Machon, Counselors in Training, how to create the magic of camp for their own campers. I’m so glad to be here.