Please enjoy a d’var Torah this week from Tobiah Markovitz. Originally from the Twin Cities, Tobiah is finishing his studies at the University of Winnipeg pursuing a history degree. This will be his 9th summer at camp where he will be working as Rosh Ruach Ramah and a Staff Life Coordinator.
Finding Appreciation: Reflections on Parashiot Tazriah and Metzora
by Tobiah Markovitz
How do we welcome back members of our community?
It’s been over 600 days since the end of kayitz (summer) 2019, the last time chanichim (campers) and tzevet (staff) were together in the community we love most. I don’t know about you, but in the last year I’ve felt as if I’m stuck running a marathon with endless turns and hills.
With the utmost happiness I’m excited to say that the finish line is just ahead! In just two short months we’ll return to the Northwoods. Before you know it, we’ll be discovering new things we love about camp and getting back into familiar rhythms. We’ll be making new friends and reuniting with the best friends whom we’ve missed so much. Our kehillah (community) will be back together. Finally.
A large section of this week’s double parashah (Torah reading), Tazriah-Metzora, describes the protocols surrounding the appearance of different infectious diseases in the Israelites’ camp. (Sound familiar?)
Just like our biblical ancestors, we will get past this period of pandemic and quarantine protocols. And, like our ancestors, we will be irrevocably shaped by our encounters with this disease. As I imagine they gained a new perspective on how valuable certain things are in life from their experience with disease, so too have the losses of the last year-plus reminded me of the importance of so much that I took for granted, including camp.
The excitement to return to camp this summer is unparalleled. This summer will be the first time our entire Ramah community has had to wait two years to make our summer home. Whatever it is you love to do at camp – whether that is boating on the agam (lake), dancing on the kikar, or shooting hoops – this summer has the opportunity to be extra special.
As a kehillah I am hopeful that we will be able to hold the things we love most extra tight to our hearts going forward. The atmosphere of Kabbalat Shabbat (Friday night services) by the agam and the proud singing of the camp song, Himnon Ramah, are two things for which I will feel a renewed gratitude this kayitz.
Whatever it was that you missed most about camp, the opportunity to experience and appreciate it once again is quickly approaching. Shabbat shalom and see you soon!