Well, friends, it is Heads or Tails Tuesday again - hooray! Heads Or Tails is a weekly meme done on Tuesdays. Anyone can play. In fact the more, the merrier! You can visit the Heads or Tails Home Page for more information on how you can join in!
Today's topic is: EXPLORE.....
For some reason, the word "explore" often reminds me of camp. In junior high and high school, I had the privilege of attending a wonderful overnight camp, Olin Sang Ruby Union Institute, (or OSRUI, as we call it). OSRUI is a Reform Jewish overnight camp in Oconomowoc, WI, and I had the opportunity to go for three summers, culminating in a summer-long, intensive Hebrew program that was life-altering.
My summers there were, and still are, precious to me. They really helped further the formation of my identity. Before going to camp, I was stuck in a rut - I had 'skipped' first grade, and had a reputation for being both smart and different. It wasn't that I was nerdy, but I felt boxed in to this one image of who I was. Adjusting to the new social group had been quite challenging when I was so young, and it took a long time to break free from merely being known as "the one who skipped."
So, fast forward to the summer after sixth grade - for the first time, no one knew about my past, and I was able to be whomever I wanted. I EXPLORED many different identities that first summer. I even gave myself a new nickname, Maci (pronounced like the store), in order to EXPLORE what that felt like. Soon, I earned a reputation for being fun, wild, spontaneous, and flirty (I had THREE boyfriends in THREE weeks that year!!). What a difference! Luckily, I was able to bring some of that newfound confidence back home with me, and integrate it into my school life. I was never the same, and longed for the next opportunity to go back to camp. I returned the following summer, and then the summer before 10th grade.
For those of you who have attended overnight camp, you know how intense those friendships can be. I am still friends with a number of my camp friends, and I treasure those summers. Additionally, I credit OSRUI with being part of my inspiration to become a rabbi. Those summers instilled in me a deeper love for Judaism than I probably would have had with synagogue life alone. Perhaps I am a rabbi just so that I can recreate those camp experiences for others!