A message from our clergy:
Why OSRUI? As a Reform Congregation, we are members of the Union for Reform Judaism. Not only does a portion of the membership commitment you pay to Temple Israel go to support URJ camps such as OSRUI, but OSRUI is the only camp where our clergy and educators can spend up to two weeks with our kids at camp. We know that Jewish camp has a profound impact. But we also know that we, as your clergy and educators, want to be a part of that impact at every opportunity. OSRUI is the camp where this happens.
Selfishly, joining your kids at camp allows us to kick the soccer ball together, walk in the woods together, and sit with each other over a Shabbat meal together. Being together at OSRUI is the best place for us to have the conversations that have no end and to experience Judaism at its best together with your children.
We also know that OSRUI is not the perfect camp for everyone. We encourage you to look at OSRUI and then if it is not the right fit for your family, seriously consider the many Jewish camps that serve our Omaha community. Our goal is to get every one of our kids into the right Jewish camp for them.
Rabbi Darryl – Rabbi Deana Sussman – Cantor Wendy Shermet
Why Jewish Summer Camp?
Experiences first, explanations later. In other realms of Jewish life, they are taught about Jewish communal life and then experience it. At camp, they experience it (at meals, during Shabbat, on the ropes course, in the cabin – everywhere), and the explanations come later.
Camp friendships last beyond the summer. After the dirty laundry has been washed and the camp trunk put away, the friendships endure. Many alumni of Jewish camp have found that the friends they make during the summer stick with them through college, young adulthood, and beyond.
Immersive Jewish community, 24/7. Campers are exposed to adult Jewish role models, Jewish peers, and Jewish friends from different places. Campers experience joy in a Jewish community, develop self-confidence as Jews, and forge Jewish connections that stay with them into their lives beyond camp.
Camp ends, but the Jewish community continues. Extensive research in recent years has proven that children who attend Jewish summer camp are more likely to identify as Jewish adults and actively engage in the Jewish community. The experience of living in a Jewish community (such as a bunk with their Jewish peers, at camp) has a deep and profound impact on Jewish children, who are more likely to practice Jewish behaviors as adults as a result of attending camp.
Jewish camp addresses the whole camper. Children learn confidence, skill-building and socialization by living in a community. At Jewish camp, adult role models and mentors create safe spaces for campers to grapple with complex ideas based in Jewish values, texts, and traditions – topics that secular schools and camps might not be able to address.
Jewish Summer Camp Grants
Do not let lack of funds discourage you from sending your child or grandchild to Jewish summer camp, there are a number of grants available:
We feel very strongly that attending a Jewish summer camp is an important part of raising a Jewish child. We do not want one child to miss the experience of camp due to a lack of funds. Here is a list of possible sources of financial assistance.
Jewish Federation of Omaha – A $1,000 Jewish Experience Grant is a gift from the Jewish Federation of Omaha to children in 3rd – 11th grades to attend a residential summer Jewish camp, with a minimum two-week program. The grant can be paid in two, $500 payments over two summers or be received as a single $1,000 payment.
There are also scholarships available, based on financial-need, through the Financial Aid Committee of the Jewish Federation of Omaha.
Both grant and scholarship applications are available at www.jewishomaha.org under “Scholarships and Grants” in the Center for Jewish Life section.
Also offered in conjunction with Jewish Experience Grants, if your child has never been to Jewish overnight summer camp and is attending a camp session of 19 consecutive days or longer, you may be eligible for a “One Happy Camper” grant of $1,000.
Visit www.onehappycamper.org to apply.
OSRUI Campership Fund – Call Associate Director of OSRUI, Susan Alexander, directly at (847)239-6980, to obtain an application and discuss the process. Forms will be available in late November and MUST be received no later than March 1.
Temple Israel – Our congregation has a limited amount of funds set aside to encourage Jewish summer camping experiences. For more information, please contact Executive Director Dennis DePorte, firstname.lastname@example.org.