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8http://www.beth-israel.org/blog/2010/06/Letter-from-Rabbi-Lyon-Congregation-Beth-Israel
Rabbi Lyon's Blog - 6_25_10
06/25/2010 02:57 PM Posted by: Rabbi Lyon

From the Desk of Rabbi David Lyon

This week, far from Jerusalem, I’m preparing for Shabbat in Bruceville, Texas. You read correctly. About midway between Dallas and Austin, off I-35, sits Greene Family Camp, Texas- Oklahoma region’s Reform Jewish summer camp. For the last 35 years, GFC, as it’s known to its fans, is the coolest (awesome) Jewish summer spot in the state. This summer, nearly 900 campers will fill the bunks in two sessions that run from early June through early August.

Every year, I come to GFC to serve as a faculty member along with many of my colleagues around the region. We have fun teaching, leading and singing with the campers and their counselors. In “Shiurim” or lessons, we integrate Jewish life with secular life and demonstrate how we bring our Judaism with us everywhere we go. At GFC, a mitzvah (good deed) is experienced everywhere everyday, even on the tennis courts, the gymnastics equipment, in the game room around the pool tables, ping-pong tables, and pinball machines, in the big new workout room and indoor basketball courts, around the gazebo, on the high and low ropes courses, down the zip line, at the camp zoo, at the archery range, on the soccer and baseball fields, in the art room, during photography activities, theater arts, at the huge pool, on the mountain bike trails, around the campfire, during bunk activities, in the lake and on the new lake play equipment, in the dining hall, during song session, and on Shabbat, when after all this and much more, we finally rest as a camp community.                

When I arrived at camp this past week, there were new and beautiful improvements all around camp. To begin with, the new sports complex is magnificent. A huge building filled with every imaginable sports activity awaits hundreds of eager campers. They run, jump, bounce, lift weights, and play games. Just outside the sports complex is a new gazebo surrounded by walkways that form a huge Jewish star (Magen David). The American and Israeli flags stand proudly at one end. Around the gazebo, you can imagine the whole community coming together for concerts, programs and special events. The outdoor chapel (beit knessest) has been renovated with new benches for everyone to be seated as services begin. In the evening, when the sun sets behind the hills, it’s a picture perfect place for prayers to find their deepest meaning.                

You might be wondering why I’m so excited about Greene Family Camp. Well, I’m not just a salesman; I’m also a user and donor. GFC has been a summer home-away-from-home and a veritable Israel for hundreds of Jewish kids from every synagogue in the region. Where else but Israel, can Jewish kids live on Jewish time everyday and spend informal time with their rabbis and Jewish counselors, morning, noon and night? That’s why I come here and spend time with our Temple kids and my own. It’s not Jerusalem, but you’d have to go a long way to find anything that compares to Israel. And, we do, in Bruceville, Texas. I give to GFC every year to be sure that in my own small way the camp has what it needs to provide our Jewish kids and future Jewish fathers and mothers everything they need to understand that it’s fun to do a mitzvah, to keep Shabbat, and to feel the power of being part of a Jewish community.                

On top of all that, it’s actually cooler in Bruceville than it is in Houston. So, as the song says, “Bring your Lexus to Bruceville, Texas; follow me to GFC!” See for yourself at www.greene.org.  

From my family to yours, Shabbat Shalom.

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