Forty-four years ago, when I first stepped foot on Lucas Pond Road, I didn’t realize how big of an impact Yavneh would have on my life. My memories of that first summer as a Gurim chanicha are, I’m sure, similar to many of yours. I remember the humidity and the verdant, buzzing summer, singing at Zimriyah and dressing up as a mouse for a Hebrew production of Cinderella. I recall dancing in Rikudiah and competing in Maccabiah. I vividly can picture the smoke climbing skyward as I watched the Chadar Ochel burn down. I remember the countless times that I ran up and down the hill to my bunk, shoes muddied and bathing suit wet. Although I experienced a small bout of homesickness, it was soon resolved by the newness and excitement of each day. That summer, Yavneh became my favorite place to be, and for thirteen magical summers it was my second home.
For the past thirteen years, my life has again returned to Yavneh as all three of my children have attended. Talia (Kerem ’10), Josh (Kerem ‘12), and Merav (Kerem ‘15) have spent many happy years at Yavneh as campers and as staff. This past summer, my husband and I visited for a Shabbat. And, despite the beautiful new buildings and different siddurim, the same ruach and Shabbat spirit was apparent. While walking around, I passed by the Agam, the Bet Am, and Weizmann, and as my memories flooded back, I was reminded once again of the formative and special time I spent at Yavneh. Watching my own children, I saw firsthand how the experiences they had as campers have provided them with the knowledge and skills to be informed and engaging young Jewish leaders.
To show my gratitude for all that Yavneh has given to me and to my family, we give back to Camp Yavneh by donating to the annual appeal. I invite you to join us so that, hopefully, – l’dor l’dor – generations of my family, yours, and many others will be able to continue to grow and learn in such a beautiful community.
Rebecca Geller Schwartz