GREENWICH, Conn. -- The Greenwich Daily Voice accepts signed letters to the editor. Please send letters to firstname.lastname@example.org .
To the editor:
When parents see the signs posted for a Camp Gan Israel they may wonder two things: what is the meaning of calling a camp gan and why Israel?
Gan is the Hebrew word for garden. The Rebbe named the first camp Camp Gan Israel, literally Garden of Israel in honor of Rabbi Israel ben Eliezer, the 17th-century founder of Chasidism known as the Baal Shem Tov.
Camp Gan is the garden of the Jewish people. It is a modern-day Eden in which young married couples, mentors, young adults and pre-teens make it their summers mission to water each flower with Torah and provide sunshine and warmth.
The camp is an opportunity for children to be re-connected to their Jewish roots, to grow in their love for their fellow Jew who, because of camp, is as close as ones bunk mate. It also is an opportunity for parents to strengthen their roots as well.
When a community supports a local Jewish camp, like a Camp Gan of Israel, they essentially, child-by-childfuture family by future family -- build-up the stability of future families in their community. At Camp Gan Israels throughout the world, children partake in a mock wedding. This light-hearted tradition allows children to witness a fun, spirited Jewish wedding scene, filling their consciousnesss with pride, anticipation and a positive regard for the sacred Jewish promise of a happy, G_d centered matrimony.
The mock wedding gives children a mental model that matrimony between man and woman is a joyous, communal celebration wherein the best fruits of life and togetherness take root and become life. Every individual needs this modeling, particularly in our modern world, as our camper children eventually become heads of households and leaders in their own community.
So, thank a local Camp Gan of Israel for showing modern children the joy of Jewish weddings and the garden that family unity creates for society at large. Childrens friendships in campmirror the desire in all of us to drink up the sweet nectar of Jewish pride, unity, friendship and laughter.
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