Out of This World Experience

At this point in the season most camps have started and are underway. Many of us are just about to send our children off or have packing fresh on our minds. My wife and I are excited to be sending our eldest child off to sleep away camp for the first time later this summer for his first taste of camp. So, beyond the packing list with its requisite underpants, soap, towels, and bathing suits, what else is on the packing list? What do we need to send our children to camp to ensure that they have a meaningful summer?

Beyond the personal reasons, the question of the packing list is on my mind recently in that July 1st marks ten and half years since the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated during reentry into Earth’s atmosphere. All seven-members of the crew died. One of the crew members was Ilan Ramon, Israel’s first Astronaut. Obviously I hope that all of our children return safely, but it is interesting to reflect on what Ramon brought with him beyond the requisite packing list.

Ilan Ramon the child of a survivor of Auschwitz carried a pencil sketch, “Moon Landscape”, drawn by 16-year-old Petr Ginz, who died in Auschwitz. He also took a miniature Torah scroll that was given him by Prof. Yehoyachin Yosef, both survived Bergen Belsen. Ramon brought a barbed wire mezuzah by the San Francisco artist Aimee Golant into space. Ramon also took with him a dollar of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson. In his own words, Ramon said, “I feel I am representing all Jews and all Israelis.”

There is no doubt that we have a lot invested in our children having amazing experiences. As we are packing up our children for a spectacular experience at camp it is interesting for us to recognize the history that brought each child to this moment. While we hope to pack our child with a lot of history, we know that the most important thing each child will find at camp is a space of his/her own. Yadid has not even left yet and I am looking forward to his safe return. I look forward to unpacking his bags on his return to I can learn about his out of this world experience.


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