By: Rabbi Lisa Tzur, Kutz Camp Committee Chair
Sometimes I wonder what it would be like if Kutz could tell its own story. How many have fallen in love with Judaism here—or just fallen in love? How many songs have been written and recorded here? How many harmonies have been crafted? How many lifelong friendships have been formed? How many people have decided to become Jewish professionals because of their experiences here, or even just more dedicated Jews? How many people have cried tears of sorrow as they leave this holy community, or tears of joy when they return through our gates. How many people consider this a second home–or perhaps even a first home….
Tonight we engaged in self-reflection about memories we have created this summer. While it might be a bit odd to speak of memories while we are in the middle of our experience together, think about it this way: Since Kutz opened its doors 48 years ago, we have welcomed more than 100,000 young people through our gates. And those 100,000 souls have created infinite memories here.
If this place could tell the stories that it has witnessed over the past 48 years. But Kutz is just a physical space. It is a remarkable space. And yet, it does not have a heart. It does not have a soul. It cannot speak. It does not remember.
We, all of us, all 100,000 of us who have walked though the gates of camp—we are the collective heart and soul and collective memory of camp. Together, we create. Together, we remember. Together, we keep alive the experiences of all who have been touched by this place. Together, we are so very grateful for those ones who have come before us, and even more grateful for the ones who will come after us. When we gather here, when we pray here, when we sing and dance, we create holy memories, day after day after day.
And now, all of you are now part of the story. You are part of the creation and of the memory. You are part of the sacred journey of this community. Your moments of memory, added to all of those already created, renew this sacred space over and over again. As you continue your journey this summer, may your time be meaningful and may you truly appreciate these moments of joy and holiness. Welcome home, and Shabbat shalom.
Rabbi Lisa Tzur is the Director of Social Media for Positive Jewish Living. She is an avid musician and has a deep passion for Israeli dance. As a former Kutz participant and staff member, Lisa currently serves as the chair of the Kutz Camp Committee.