Hi! My name is Becca Winograd (K’18) and this past summer would have been my 10th summer at Yavneh. (I am devastated that I have to wait a whole extra year for my 10-year blanket!) However, all is not lost. I am very grateful to say that I am writing this from Israel! I am currently here on Nativ, a gap year program for conservative Jewish teens.
While on this program, I don’t think a day has gone by without Yavneh popping into my head at least once. At home, my family and I are not very observant, and most of my Jewish identity at this point in my life comes from my experiences at camp. Many things here remind me so much of Yavneh and all of my amazing experiences I’ve had there with Judaism. Whether it’s Kabbalat Shabbat, davening (praying) in the morning, or singing Birkat Hamazon (Grace after Meals) at the end of Shabbat dinner, my mind will often wander to a fond memory of a similar situation I’ve had at camp.
When I do these things that remind me so heavily of camp, I get very nostalgic. Because we were unable to attend camp this summer, I wish to be back there, more than ever. Although I can get quite sad, I choose to see this sadness as a positive thing. I am so beyond grateful that I have something to be so nostalgic about. I am so grateful to have such fond memories tied to Judaism. Camp has created something so special to me that I can’t go even a day without thinking about it! Isn’t that kind of amazing? Even halfway across the world, my mind somehow always ends up back in Northwood.
This is one of my favorite things about Yavneh. We find pieces of it everywhere we go, in everything we do. I’ve heard past chanichim (campers) and madrichim (counselors) who went to camp years ago still telling stories of their days at Yavneh like they were yesterday. Yavneh is so unique to all of us, yet we all feel that same connection to it even after not being there for so long. So, the next time you’re feeling sad and missing your home away from home, try to remember: it is amazing that we all have something we miss so dearly!