Jewish Summer Camp—a Powerful Vehicle for Jewish Continuity

Jewish summer overnight camp has been a powerful force for Jewish continuity for my daughters and for many of their friends.  Now grown, having moved out of our home, and living in distant cities they keep their Jewish connections, often by reuniting with their Jewish summer camp friends.  They started as the youngest campers and stayed until they were counselors in college.

BTW: Camp Ramah New England at Palmer is celebrating its 60th year, May 19, 2013, 10:30 AM – 3:00 PM:  All are welcome! http://www.campramahne.org/

Of course there are many different Jewish summer camp experiences, but here is a Jewish summer camp story for teens, Falling in Love, modeled in part on the Camp Ramah experience.

Regardless of what you may think of this story, please encourage your Jewish children to attend Jewish summer camp as a primary vehicle for Jewish continuity.

And watch this blog for news about and excerpts from my upcoming novel for Jewish young adults, The Uncertain Art of Hooking Up, as well as more stories from JewishFamilyStories.com. Also, feel welcome to check out my paperback book for Jewish children: Miracles–stories for Jewish children and their families. (All the stories are available for online at http://www.jewishfamilystories.com/.)

You also can follow this blog, American Jew, on Twitter, @storyauthor1225

How Can Hope Counter Despair

Talk about despair, yesterday Boston experienced a terrorist attack. Two explosions occurred at the Boston Marathon finish line, killing three people (including a child) and wounding many more, some critically. As a nation, unfortunately, we have seen this before. (This blogger was a few miles up the Marathon route cheering on the late stragglers and never heard the explosions.)

AIPAC sent out the following message today: Sixty-five years ago, the modern state of Israel was born, and brought freedom, hope and opportunity to its citizens. It’s fitting that this year’s Yom Ha’atzmaut follows on the heels of our Patriots’ Day. Instead of sending a traditional greeting, today we thought it best to share what Israeli President Shimon Peres said about the bombings yesterday. His words are personal, and we hope they find meaning and comfort for you as well. “When it comes to events like this, all of us are one family,” he said. “We feel a part of the people who paid such a high price. G-d bless them.”

Jews understand terror. Thousands of missiles still rain down on southern Israel, terrorizing people almost weekly.

The Jewish holiday of Lag Ba’Omer occurs in less than two weeks, Sun., April. 28. Lag Ba’Omer, part way between Pesach and Shavuot, remembers hope in a time of despair. Most American Jews barely notice Lag Ba’Omer and fewer could tell you what it is about. This story, Despair and Hope, was written to explain Lag Ba’Omer to children attending Shabbat services at Temple Reyim, Newton MA., coincidentally located directly on the Marathon route approaching mile 18.

Feel welcome to check out all the stories on JewishFamilyStories.com.

And watch this blog for news about and excerpts from my upcoming novel for Jewish young adults, The Uncertain Art of Hooking Up, as well as more stories from JewishFamilyStories.com. There you also can find my paperback book: Miracles–stories for Jewish children and their families.

Please follow my blog on Twitter, American Jew, which focuses on Jewish continuity through storytelling, @storyauthor1225

Love and Respect: A Crucial Lesson for Teens

Here is a scene that could be from one of this father’s worst nightmares:

  • “I hit her. She deserved it. She said she was going to leave me.”
  • “The jealousy at first was flattering; it made me feel important.”
  • “He yells at her all the time.”
  • “I didn’t tell my parents because I didn’t think they’d believe me.”

It is part of a program put on by young people one Sunday in Pittsburg. These are words generally not spoken aloud by Jewish young adults, but they were spoken on that Sunday as Jewish teenagers and young adults performed dating violence scenarios for an audience of their peers. The dramatization was part of a program by the Jewish Domestic Abuse Violence Task Force of Pittsburgh at a symposium entitled “Tools for Building Healthy Dating Relationships” You can find more about it here.

As the father of two Jewish women one of my worst nightmares was that they might get trapped in an abusive relationship. I didn’t know how to tell them to be aware of abusive dating relationships. But abusive relationships among Jewish families happen just as they happen in society at large.

My mother worried I would marry a non-Jewish girl, which I might have but in the end didn’t. That was my mother’s worry; mine was either of my girls getting entangled in an abusive relationship. If I lectured they would roll their eyes. If I tried to put strict controls on whom they could see they would get around that. So, I wrote a story, Love and Respect. You can find it here. Please note: the language in this story can be graphic and disturbing, which was intended.

This story is posted on the website JewishFamilyStories.com. Check it out to find more of my stories for Jewish teens and children.

And watch this blog for news about and excerpts from my upcoming novel for Jewish young adults, The Uncertain Art of Hooking Up, as well as more stories from  JewishFamilyStories.com. There you also can find my paperback book: Miracles–stories for Jewish children and their families.

Follow my blog, American Jew, that focuses on Jewish continuity through storytelling, @storyauthor1225