Camp YavnehCamp Yavneh
March 03, 2021

Kol Yavneh: Steve Shimshak

Author - Camp Yavneh

Shalom Machaneh Yavneh!

18 summers ago, upon completing my summer as Rosh Kerem, I took one final walk around the beloved Yavneh paths. I took a glance across the Agam before traversing the snake path to the boys area. I went into the Ben Tzvi, the Beit Am, and the Chadar Ochel one last time. I felt content. It felt final. After all, this was the place that I met my wife and decided I was going to pursue teaching; I had followed a group of Gurim kids all the way through Kerem and now their journey, as well as mine, was complete. Or, so I thought…things have a way of coming back around. In Judaism, we call this teshuva, to return to something you have done before and revisit it with fresh eyes, another chance at a previous experience to enrich your life once again.

When Bil reached out to me, I was at first skeptical, concerned about how I would transport my current life back to Northwood now that I have a family, children, a home, a dog, a community. Despite these perceived obstacles, even if it was just for the special place that I have in my heart for Yavneh, I knew I owed it to myself (and to Yavneh) to learn more. When he pitched the idea of being the Rosh Tzeirim (head of lower camp), I let myself dream. When he answered all my questions and concerns and made it known that he absolutely wanted us there, I realized the answer had to be a resounding yes. I would return to Yavneh 18 years later, such a symbolic number in Judaism, meaning “life.” 

I am so excited to start with our young family back at camp this summer. My twin six year old daughters, Isabella and Zoe, will have the opportunity to experience the magic of what brought me and my wife Becca together at Yavneh all those years ago. To say we are excited would be an understatement. We are absolutely thrilled to get back to the grounds where we first met, the happiest place on Earth (apologies to Disney World). I am so looking forward to meeting everybody and together, after 22 long grueling months of waiting, embarking on what is sure to be the greatest summer of all of our lives. See you soon!


Steve Shimshak