This past Tuesday, my six year-old son came home from school singing the quintessential song of this season:

שמחה רבה שמחה רבה, אביב הגיע, פסח בא
Simchah rabbah, simchah rabbah, aviv heegiah, Pesach ba! which translates loosely as: Immense joy, immense joy, springtime has arrived, Pesach is coming!

Hearing this familiar song in the sweet voice of a young child was exactly the trigger that I needed to take stock of the important shifts that are taking place at this moment. At long last, there are (at least some) lingering moments of warmth. Birds can even be heard occasionally chirping in the early morning hours. The hours of daylight are stretching longer.

In the Chicago camp office, this time of year marks the moment when we begin to shift our focus towards the intense, person-to-person, excitement-inducing work that represents the last stage of getting ready for camp.

Three significant events this week embodied this shift: We just had our first pre-summer conference call with this summer’s amazing group of nine Roshei Eidah. The energy and talent of this group is palpable and we feel so excited to be working with such a fabulous group of leaders. Second, we welcomed our summer Program Director, Deena Cowans, to our Chicago office team. Deena’s involvement from now through the summer will allow us to intensify our focus on essential programmatic elements of the summer. Finally, I spent last week in Israel participating in a JAFI (Jewish Agency for Israel)-run training program with this year’s mishlachat—a delegation of approximately twenty young Israeli men and women who either recently finished, or are almost-finished with, their army service. This diverse and impressive group will be working at camp this summer in various roles. Their excitement about the upcoming experience at Camp Ramah in Wisconsin—the opportunity to meet young North American Jews, to grapple with their own Jewish identities within the context of Conservative Judaism, to engage in serious dialogue about Jewish life in the Diaspora—was simply inspiring.

As Pesach approaches, let us remember that this holiday is Chag Ha’Aviv, the Holiday of Spring. May Pesach’s connection to Spring always remind us to be aware of the “immense joy” around us, and grateful for the freedoms to engage in our personal lives, our professional work, and our broader world with meaning and passion. Simcha rabbah indeed!