These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem

Culture Shock

Posted on June 17, 2013 by Aliza Geller

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ekcI don’t mean that I got home and things were different, they were but I’l get to that a little later. This summer I am working at Emma Kaufmann Camp, in Morgantown West Virginia. This is the camp affiliated with the JCC of Pittsburgh, and I have two second cousins who attended.

Blue Ridge Mountains? Check!
Country Roads? You betcha!
Jewish life? Not so much….

This summer my job is to infuse the Jewish into educational programs without it being too obvious (the exception being Shabbat). This is a far cry from what I have been used to for most of my life, and especially far removed from the community I was surrounded by at Pardes.

As I drove to the camp I was comforted by the mountains that surrounded me, reminding me of the mountains of The Golan and Galil. I was also reassured by the fact that there would be shlichim at the camp so I will surrounded by Hebrew speakers. I was surprised by the level of knowledge of some of the staff. Staff week starts tomorrow, tonight I went with most of the other head staff members (to a hibachi grill of all places), where the night ended with them showing me the hand motions to Oseh Shalom, which they learned from Adam Baldachin, the person who had my job two years ago. However, I am the only person at the camp who observes Shabbat and keeps Kosher. I worked at a pluralistic boarding school where a majority of the students and faculty were not, but they were at least knowledgeable about the Jewish observances that I would be observing. Here only a couple of people know about Jewish observances, or that I am observant.

On the home front, my sister graduated from high school, my parents got a new couch, all the public schools in my town have apparently switched to solar energy. My sister graduating is a serious milestone because she is the youngest, in fact 10 years younger them me, which means that I had a hand in raising her. I got to spend 4 days with my sister in the past year, a fact that she was very offended by. Even though it wold have been nice the spend more time with my family, go on the annual family trip to Bethany Beach, Delaware, which my family has been going on since my mother was a child, I am glad to be so busy I don’t even have time to focus on how much I miss everyone from Pardes and the city of Jerusalem.