It’s been a busy and fairly Jew-y week and a half, both with family and work, and there’s a lot to write about once I have time to collect my thoughts.
I have not forgotten my promise to write about last week’s Judaism 2030 conference, and I also want to write about my daughters’ last day (for the academic year, not for their whole lives) of Hebrew school.
However, the topic for today is Family Camp at Eden Village. Which my daughters and I attended this weekend. And really liked.
In fact, although I was happy upon our return South of Eden to reunite with Joe, who was unable to join us, and to sleep once more in my comfy bed (a vast improvement over the hard bunk bed in a cobwebby cabin), I find myself a little homesick (campsick?) for this magical little place with beautiful scenery, delicious and healthy food, and friendly and accepting people.
While I suspect there weren’t too many Republicans or oil company execs in attendance, the overall diversity, among both the staff and the 20 families that participated, was impressive. Jewishly, we ranged from Modern Orthodox to intermarried liberal to secular to a mom who belongs to a Unitarian church and is just beginning to explore her Jewish roots. Most of the families were two parents plus small kids, but several moms came without their (in almost every case non-Jewish) husbands, some grandparents came along, and at least one divorced mom came.
It also seemed like a very comfortable environment for families with special-needs kids. One of the highlights of Family Share, a sort-of low-key talent show, was when a little boy with Down’s Syndrome played the harmonica and danced, basking in the audience’s applause.
The Family Camp group was small enough and friendly enough that conversation flowed pretty effortlessly. An added highlight: I got to meet fellow intermarried Jewish mom blogger Amy Meltzer, of Homeshuling, who came for a day with her two daughters and read aloud her forthcoming, excellent picture book “The Shabbat Princess” and already published PJ Library selection “A Mezuzah on the Door.” Among mine and Amy’s many, almost eerie commonalities: similarly-aged daughters with similar names — she has an Ella and a Zoe, whereas I have an Ellie and a Sophie; husbands of French Canadian descent who teach high school history; BA’s from small, lefty liberal arts colleges — her Wesleyan, me Oberlin.
Here’s what my daughters loved about Eden Village:
*Sniffing flowers and herbs, and spotting different plants, insects and wild animals — including a chipmunk and a snake.
*Learning how to make a crown of wildflowers, playing in the creek, making things out of clay and beads.
*Singing around the campfire and performing for Family Share.
*Playing with hula-hoops and Frisbees.
*Riding on the zip lines and rope swings that look out over the field of crops.
*Visiting a chicken coop and looking at freshly laid eggs.
*The post-Havdalah fire show (one of the staff members, who looks and acts like a wizard, juggled and did various tricks with balls of fire)
Yay, Eden Village!
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