Jewish Life at Camp
Beber Camp is an inclusive, intentional, and inspiring Jewish community. We are an independent, non-movement based Jewish organization and we pride ourselves on our diversity. Beber Camp is a summer home for Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist, traditional and unaffiliated campers. For some campers, their first summer will be their first experience in an immersive Jewish community and for others it compliments their already rich Jewish experience.
We feel a tremendous responsibility for our campers’ Jewish experience and outcomes. Our vision is as follows:
- Judaism at Beber strives to be welcoming and embracing.
- Judaism is fun and promotes individual growth in a Jewish environment that is enriching.
- This experience is values-based and community-focused.
- Being or feeling connected to Israel increases one’s sense of Jewish identity. Therefore, it is Beber’s mission to help to teach children and staff members develop knowledge, love, and pride for Israel as part of their Jewish culture, heritage, and religion.
As a result, our entire community gains a deep connection and enthusiasm for Judaism that lasts all summer, all year and all life.
Shabbat at Beber
At Beber Camp, Shabbat is special and many of our campers say that it is their favorite time of the week. Shabbat is a time of separation from the normal days of camp, a time for reflection and an opportunity to reconnect more deeply with the camp community.
We begin our Shabbat experience with a special extended shower time for our community to get ready before we meet as a camp at the hobby wheel. Once the entire camp is assembled, we divide into cabin groups to listen to our Judaics Director explain the theme for the week’s Shabbat and do a cabin blessing over the children.
From there, the entire camp is escorted by our song leaders to Crown Hall where service begins with speeches by our Counselors In Training (CIT). Our Kabbalat Shabbat services are amazing and are led by both our Judaics Director, our song leader and a group of volunteer campers. After services, we move to the dining hall for a traditional festive Shabbat meal followed by all-camp Israeli dancing on the basketballs courts and a rocking song session/concert in Crown Hall.
Saturday morning begins with a late wake-up and breakfast in cabin, before everyone heads to Crown Hall for Shabbat services. The services are camper led, with the help of our Judaics team, and are followed by a spectacular song session led by our song leaders.
The programming throughout the day is special and focused on age-appropriate learnings and activities. For Makor campers, Shabbat programming is centered around rituals and customs. Kesher campers are focused on taking responsibility and “counting” as part of a minyan. Ramot campers learn about youth group options and discuss family history to learn about both individual and shared heritage. Our oldest Teen Leadership campers have a more immersive experience in running programs for younger campers and gaining a stronger connection to Israel.
Shabbat at Beber Camp wraps up with a moving Havdallah service on Saturday evening in our outdoor, lakefront amphitheater. We sing songs, recite the Havdallah prayers, hear from each cabin about their week and even announce the winner of cabin cleanup for the week!
All in all, Shabbat at Beber Camp is a magical experience and is one of the cornerstones of our Jewish program.