Last night I was at an impromptu house party in Brooklyn where I was briefly sharing some camp anecdotes, referring to the Camp Sternberg video I posted here a few weeks back and my clash with camp administration over my failure to sometimes wear socks while going to and from the swimming pool. Anyway, this prompted one of the guests in attendance, a woman who had converted to Judaism to marry her husband, to tell us about her crazy camp dream -- Convert Camp.
As many people over the years have noted, it seems like most American Jews go to some kind of sleepaway camp at some point in their lives and it is a very important part of the Jewish socialization process. And, as this woman pointed out, camp is where Jews learn all of the songs, tunes and liturgy that most will use throughout their adult lives. She feels that she needs a camp experience of her own simply to learn all these songs and traditions and assimilate into the Jewish mainstream.
This sounded like a brilliant idea the second she mentioned it. Why hasn't anyone yet done this? I mean, the Jewish community invests in some very silly projects all for the sake of continuity and engagement, trying to get youths who only grudgingly want to participate or are only looking for a trip to Israel or somewhere else. Why not provide an opportunity for converts or Jews by choice to have an experience that would help them acclimate to the Jewish community? Convert Camp totally needs to happen.