Reflections on Parashat P’kudeiby Benji Bearman, Chief Operating Officer

This week’s parashah (Torah reading), P’kudei, opens with an accounting of the donations made by B’nai Yisrael (Children of Israel) for the building of the Mishkan (Tabernacle).  The parashah details the gold, silver and copper donated by the community.  It is particularly significant that every member of B’nai Yisrael contributed to the building of the Mishkan; the entire community came together for a common cause.  The act of building the Mishkan not only required donations from the people, but it also helped to build a community invested in the Mishkan.

Similarly, we strive to build a special Jewish community with our campers and staff throughout the summer.  However, in order to create that special kehillah (community), we too need the support of every member of our community.  Year after year, alumni and friends of the camp – young and old – give generously of their time and resources to help create the joyful camp experience that means so much to so many.

Twenty five years ago I was in Nivonim 1991, and like many members of the aidah (division) I was a beneficiary of communal support in order to attend Camp Ramah.  This summer, as my aidah gathers for our 25th Nivonim reunion, we will see the return on that investment made so many years ago.  Today the members of my aidah are professionals, Jewish educators, and communal leaders.  Like so many of our Ramah alumni, the summers at camp were an investment in a Jewish foundation that continues to pay dividends.

As we complete Sefer Shemot (the Book of Exodus) this week, we will rise to say the liturgical phrase we pronounce at the end of each of the five books of the Torah: Hazak, Hazak V’nitchazek (Be strong, be strong, and let us be strengthened!). Let us remember that, like B’nai Yisrael, we each have an obligation to contribute and help build our community.

Hodesh Tov (Happy new month of Adar II) and Shabbat Shalom.