Beloved Friends,

I, like you, read with tremendous sadness the news from the Union for Reform Judaism that OSRUI, as well as all the other URJ summer programs, have been canceled. I know how difficult this decision was for our leadership. Camp played such an essential role in my Jewish identity formation and was a large influence on my decision to become a rabbi. So many of you have cherished memories of time spent at summer camp and lifelong friendships you made. Though we ache with the disappointment felt by our children we know that this is the best decision to protect their health and wellbeing.

This is another painful disruption of our lives. Yet, I remain hopeful that we will move from this darkness to light. Our tradition tells us that one who saves a single life it is as if she has saved an entire world. The preservation of life is a prime directive in Judaism, and I know this is what guided our camp leadership. I am so grateful to Solly Kane, the director of OSRUI, and his staff including our own Shira Brandhandler, for the work they do with our young people.

This summer will not be the same without camp. It will be a summer like no other. Now, more than ever, we need to support one another. We need to support our children, our families, and our camp. Jewish summer camping is something we cannot lose. I look to the future with hope that it will be even brighter than our past.

Rabbi Paul F. Cohen