By A Camper
55 girls. 20 women. One group. Standing together. From all over, covering all places around the world. And we’re showing one thing. No matter what happened, no matter how hard they tried, the horrors they put forth, we’ve won.
In the middle of the forest, in a place that’s soaked with the blood of our brothers, in a land that’s filled with the cries of our nation, we sang. Because we won. And we believe. Ani Maamin. We believe in us. We believe in the future. We know. And we show. We are standing at the grave of the Rebbe’s brother in the midst of Dnepropetrovsk, where he was murdered by the animals of the holocaust, and we cry. Together. We cry for the deeds of our past; yet we use our tears to build a stronger future. We’ve won because they thought they can destroy us, and when they killed Reb Berel and millions of others, they believed that they can control our future by annihilating our past. And we stand there.
Singing. 55 girls. 20 women. One group. Taking a stand and showing the world that they did not succeed- we ARE the future. We will continue. We believe. We have won.
—- Journal entry from one of the girls.
A place that’s so deeply etched into all our hearts and minds, a box of memories that will last more than a lifetime, a family that makes me feel like home. This is not just camp. This is not just a fun, passing summer to look back at. Not just a time full of laughter and smiles, love and friendship. Camp YTT is a journey. A discovery. A gift. A journey of life, a discovery of self, and the gift of family. A camp that’s taught us more than a teacher can teach, has given us more than a hand can give, and brought us to places we never thought we’d reach.
Our journey began in the echoes of our past, in the depths of Ukraine where we discovered the foundation on which we base our lives. We traveled through the sights and places of where our roots lay, and connected to the Rebbeim that set our lives in place. We cried in Haditch with the Alter Rebbe, we sang in Mezibezh by the Baal Shem tov; and we learned in Nyezhin at the Mitteler Rebbe. We traveled through the life and explored the childhood of our Rebbe, starting in Dnieper where the Rebbe grew up and visited the Rebbe’s parents and brothers. And each of us left more connected than ever before.
We continued on to our land, the holy land of Eretz Yisroel. We saw the land permeated by the work of our brothers, built up by the hands of every Jew. We walked the roads our fathers walked, we breathed the air of times bygone. We rejoiced while learning about the victories of our land, we wept at her sorrows. We saluted our soldiers at the borders of Chevron, we mourned for the martyrs of Masada. We stormed the heavens with our tefilos at the kosel, and we toured every inch of our country. We trekked the rolling mountains, we swam the seas, and we searched for every remnant of our history.
And now we are each sitting on our own, separated by time and space. And we’re sad. Each in our own way. For who will continue to be our constant support and family like each other; the girls we feel are mere extensions of ourselves. And who will sit with us until the crazy hours of the morning, answer our millions of questions, give us the guidance we need, discuss topics in Rebbe Time that stir thoughts and emotions like no other. Who will believe in us, push us to grow, give us the tools we need for life, and connect with us like our unbelievable, incredible counselors.
Sara Basya Jacobson, Zeesy Gurevitch, Mushka Butman and Shira Hasin can never know just how much they’ve deeply affected each and every one of us this summer. Their unwavering dedication to camp and care for every camper is unmatched by anyone. We flourished under the leadership and guidance of Mrs. Swerdlov, who has showered us with life’s treasures and knowledge with her shiurim, Swerly moments, bus ride lessons and day to day conversations. And of course a huge thank you to our coordinator Shosh who planned and prepared a schedule of a lifetime.
Our lives and our connections will never be the same. Camp YTT thank you for this incredible journey. This amazing discovery. And this unforgettable gift.
Other campers share thoughts on the trip:
M. S. I learned to appreciate what it is to be Lubavitch
B. Z. It brought the Rebbeim alive! and real.
C. R. We lived our ROOTS
R. B. Changed my life. I CONNECTED
Y. T. I met an important person, I met the real ME
R. B. it was life changing, I CONNECTED to our past.
B. Z. It made the Rebbeim ALIVE and REAL.
M. S. I appreciate what it means to be a Lubavitcher
S. C. Rebbe, Chassidim, all of us, are ONE.