To our Camp Counselors,
This letter is long overdue, yet with camp around the corner again, and camps finalizing their staff for yet another summer of shlichus with their communities, I feel it’s a good time.
Throughout the years, we’ve been blessed with amazing staff members who have joined our S. Barbara, California Camp Gan Israel. But last year’s staff went above and beyond the call of duty.
Unfortunately, our community suffered the loss of our Shliach, my dear father in law, Rabbi Yosef Loschak a”h, last gimmel tammuz, during our second week of camp. You can only imagine the hectivity, both personally and in camp, my wife and I were going through during that difficult time.
Our counselors too had a lot on their plate. Camp had to “evacuate” for three hours during a levaya. Hundreds of people converged on the Chabad House for the week of Shiva. My wife and I, the camp directors, left town for 2 days to be in NY.
Many 18 year old girls could rightfully complain and be frustrated at the situation they were put in. It’s not their fault. It’s not fair. All true.
Not our staff. They immediately offered to stay at our home with our children while we were gone. “And don’t worry about camp, it’s all under control.” (It goes without saying, that I arranged for an interim director and I had a few calls/texts… but the staff made it happen!)
So picture this. Starting Tuesday night we stayed up changing the next day’s schedule to allow for camp to disappear for a few hours during the levaya. Camp finishes Wednesday, my wife and I board a plane, and our kids (and nieces!) go home with the counselors who make them dinner, get them ready for bed, wake them up, make them lunches and get them into camp for another day at camp. Camp finishes, and back home for dinner, bedtime, etc.
When we arrived back in S. Barbara, exhausted physically and emotionally, hours before Shabbos, I literally couldn’t believe my eyes. All the children were bathed and in Shabbos clothes. The tables were set for 50 guests, the food warming on the stoves.
Ashreinu ma tov chelkeinu that our Lubavitcher mosdos and families raise girls committed to the Chassidishe values of ahavas yisroel, bitul, shlichus and chessed.
Iy”H no camp ever has to go through a summer like ours. Iy”H every camp is zoche to counselors like ours.
In the zechus of Chaya Zippel, Miriam Kudan, Rochel Morozow, Zeldy Nemenov, Shterna Moshiach and Chaya Mushka Malinas and all of the Rebbe’s counselors, may we all be zoche to celebrate this summer in Camp Gan Israel Yerushalayim with our Rebbe, and all our loved ones with Moshiach now.
Rabbi Zalmy Kudan, CGI S. Barbara, California