Happy Passover!

  • 93 Days 'til camp!
    I hope you are well and have survived this winter’s overabundance of snow! Each year at Passover, as I look forward to Seders with my family and friends, I always think ahead just a little to the start of the camp season. I wonder how our camp families are celebrating, and hope that our girls are bringing their own individual interpretation of the Passover story to their family’s table. I wonder which sibling at the table has been given the responsibility of chanting the four questions. I am curious as to whether the answers to those questions will remind our campers how tenacious the Jewish people are, and that we are all here and able to celebrate Pesach together because of them.

    Each Seder table has its own traditions; at our table, “bitter herb” was my uncle, whose name was, unfortunately for him, Herb, and the meal was never complete until one of the children exclaimed “these matzo balls are the lightest ones ever,” complimenting whoever had the job of making them that particular year. There were always enough afikomen pieces hidden for each child who was present to find one, and always a prize for everyone once all the pieces had been found. The charoset had to be made using a particular family recipe, and preparing the hard-boiled eggs (we never knew exactly WHEN we were supposed to eat them during the meal) always fell to me – mostly because everyone knows I do not especially care for hard-boiled eggs. Our hagaddahs were the ones that my grandmother had, and we continue to use them because of the sentimentality of it all. There was always the annual photograph of all the grandchildren, braces on our teeth, holding the new stuffed animals we had received from our grandmother on Pesach. These Seders have been chronicled by our family for years, and I would never trade a moment of any of them.

    I am sure your Seder table has its own family rituals, ones that your children will forever cherish as well. I can’t help but draw the obvious comparison between the traditions of Passover, the Jewish people, and the specialness of some of the traditions at Camp Pembroke. I believe that we continue to return to the shores of Lake Oldham year after year because those traditions, like those at our individual Seders, have become part of the fabric of who we are – and who our children will become as they grow into young adults. I am proud that Camp Pembroke continues to play a role in the development of the Jewish identity of our campers, and I hope that your Passover will be full of memory-making experiences with your families.

    At this season, I want to tell you how grateful I am for our Camp Pembroke sisterhood, and the unique place it holds in the hearts of so many of our alumni, campers and staff. I wish you and your very special families a healthy, sweet, and fulfilling Passover. I am looking forward to celebrating the 2013 camp season with you and your daughters in less than 100 days from now!

    Chag Sameach,

    Ellen

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