Six Weeks


Surprised to learn that I do not have a congregation, people often ask me if I’m a “practicing rabbi.” Recently, the question was formulated more broadly: “What do you do?”

I paused for a moment, mostly to ensure that I didn’t answer flippantly: “I drink too much coffee and eat a lot of Nutella.”

Sometimes it’s a challenge to define my “Independent Rabbinate” in just a few sentences. I probably ought to prepare an elevator speech.

What do I do?

I write. I’m working on the manuscript of my second book. I teach Torah and facilitate art workshops. I work primarily with adults, but sometimes with elementary and middle school students. I teach in community centers, synagogues, churches, coffee shops and office buildings. Sometimes I travel great distances to teach; sometimes I do so without ever leaving Metro Atlanta.

As I thought about how to answer this question, I envisioned the central place where I teach, the one place other than my home where I spend the most time working. That’s when I realized that campers arrive in six weeks.

at the wheel full

In six weeks, I’ll celebrate my tenth summer at Ramah Darom. In the fall, I’ll direct the Jewish Women’s Getaway for a second time.

What do I do? Many things.
What do I love? Being at camp.

Perhaps my favorite thing about working at Ramah Darom during the summer is my commute. I walk across the camp—from my room in the Marcus Retreat Center to the ceramics studio in the Art Building—several times a day. No remembering where I parked the car; no forgetting where I left my car keys. At the end of a busy and, usually, messy day, my friend Deana and I put a few extra miles on our sneakers after dinner.

Six weeks.

I’d better start a shopping list. I’m going to need coffee and Nutella, and more socks.


Comments (7)

I am proud to say I will too be celebrating my tenth year at camp and have the same feelings as you do. Here is where I feel at my best professionally, doing what I love to do, teaching experientially, using Camp as my classroom. The camaraderie and the learning that goes on between and amongst the staff (our staff – mostly – we of a “certain age”), as well as the opportunity to serve as role models for the younger staff are among the many things I look forward to as we approach this six week mark!

We should speak to Sandie about having an anniversary cake…and then we’ll walk it off on Gesher Hill!

Please post about the journey at camp!

Vanessa, I will try. One of the best things about retreating to the mountains is that I get to spend long days in the ceramics studio, away from the technology. One of the frustrating things about retreating to the mountains is that the wifi and cellular service are a bit unreliable. I usually post weekly to the blog, and I try to tweet once a day, wifi permitting.

I love your writing and have figured out to add you to my list of people I read regardless of your topic.

Camp sounds like fun and makes me wish I was Jewish and could go. If I bring enough Nutella, can I come anyway?

As always, I walk away with something to consider.

I am having camp envy. That sounds awesome.

And if you have any free time on your trip to the Bay Area later this year, let me know!

So many friends have camp envy — I guess it’s because I am careful to filter out the parts about being physically & emotionally exhausted from working 4 weeks, 24/7, responsible for other people’s kids. 😉

We will DEFINITELY connect in August. I’m not coming 3,000+ miles to your lovely city without meeting you!

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