Ahhhhh. I’m missing it again today, if you can’t tell (and by “it” I mean camp JCA Shalom, for any of you newbies out there. Long explanation is in this post, I guess we could call this part 2). If you haven’t been to my lil slice of heaven in Malibu, I feel so sorry for you – I truly could not have gotten through freshman year without this to look forward to. It was a hell of a rough ride, but wonderful old memories and promises of new ones in just a short time – July! – kept me going. This post is fueled by a wistful heart and a whirring head, as I just flickr-stalked my camp’s photostream and found some ADORABLE old pics (which will be posted at the end of this entry, just you wait!) AND spent all morning listening to old jams from song session. You have been warned. So without further ado…

some things I miss about JCA:

  • The people (obviously) – my best friends! and my family. (they’re the same thing)
    • My counselors?? They’re my older brothers and sisters and I couldn’t ask for better (or funnier) role models. They’re the best, and they come from all over the world – Israel and Britain especially – which is pretty damn cool!!
    • My bunkmates – the girlsss! I love you all so so so so so much. Shoutout to my twinnie and my wifey (you know who you are) and so many more of you. I love you to the end of the beach hike and back again, a million times. I just drove all the way out to Pasadena to visit Ella on Saturday morning, and we hugged for a million years when I arrived. The last time we’d seen each other was when she came to pick up Noah from gesher summer 11 months ago, and that was only for 20 minutes, tops. So that shows the extreme love I have for the Graters – Ella is my sister above all else; I’d call her that before I called her my friend (although she is both, obviously, and we are not blood related) – and for my sisters in general! I would do anything and drive any distance, even hours, for you. and seeing Noah was pretty cool, too. Which brings me to my third bullet point…
    • My BOYS. The opposite cabins in our unit. Gesher was pretty cool with only 5 of you ahaha but I hope we get to see more of you joining us in TASC summer and beyond! I love all of you with my whole entire HEART. Seriously. Some of my favorite memories from this past summer were made chilling at your table at breakfast or literally just taking a nap in your yurt. Dances with y’all were so so much fun (red lipstick and eyeliner lol) and I loved messing with all of you all the time. Thanks for all the laughs and for how down-to-earth you all were, I can’t wait for this summer!
  • The food. Umm it’s all so homey and good and makes me so happy. Overly sauced caesar salad and matzah ball soup with extra yellow soup nuts? Yes. Please. Bring on the homeliness and happiness and totally awesome tomato soup with grilled cheese.
  • The BEACH CAMPOUT. We get to hike down to the beach which is so much fun and so rewarding once you get down to leo carillo and then we get to sleep ON THE BEACH? It is SO beautiful oh my goodness. We barbecue burgers and watch the sunset and usually meditate and then we play games and tell stories and jokes and get SO close? I always see a shooting star or two and last summer was the best, we all cuddled up and told jokes with flashlights in our faces like 9 year olds and I honestly could not have asked for a better experience. And then in the morning I woke up to the mist and went down to the water first thing just to dip my toes and enjoy the absolute beauty that is the california coast. I love where I live and I love opportunities like the beach campout wowie wow me oh my.
  • SHABBAT DANCES LET’S GET ABSOLUTELY LITTT. So much fun & sweat and glitter and lipstick and tutus? It doesn’t sound like the littest party ever but dude we get smoke machines and strobes and you are surrounded by the best friends ever and dancing gets any worries you could possibly even have at camp out. And nobody judges you for your dance moves. Hell. Yes. PS: One year my cabin got in genuine trouble for twerking too much; “nice little jewish girls” who?? We turn UP
  • Israeli dancing in general. It’s so much fun and weird and wonderful. Zieben zieben eilanuf & golden boy & so gorgeous in bikini even though we’re not so skini. Love.
  • Shabbat services – I am in love with judaism recently and it’s experiences like jca shalom shabbat services on cool saturday mornings that fuel that love. The brisk air and the beautiful music and the lush greenery and nature and birdsong that blankets the amphitheatre and ropes course, not to mention the pure unity of happy and passionate people of faith, bring me so much peace and harmony and happiness. I feel at home when I’m surrounded by jews of all backgrounds clothed in white, singing along to “sim shalom” under the beautiful big oaks. Which brings me to…
  • Song session! Singing at camp is magical but song session is ROWDY. We get so pumped up and let out all excess energy in this rollicking hour after dinner. Later I’ll be posting a camp playlist full of songs that hold good memories, israeli dance songs, and definitely songs from song session. When I do, it’ll be linked here. But for real, song session holds such a space in my heart. Have you ever lost your voice from screaming at a concert? You know the satisfaction that comes with that, the knowing that you can’t speak because the night before you had such a good time? The joyous memories that flood back every time you say a word in your scratchy babble? Well, imagine that, but every day for two weeks. Thanks to song session, I spend every night sing-screaming the lyrics to songs from every genre, ranging from “Puff the Magic Dragon” to “Blackbird” to songs screamed entirely in hebrew, and I could not be happier. Oh, and the dancing. The conga lines and the hora’s and the tangoing and stomping. The FUN.
  • Havdalah services. They are pure beauty. We perform the ceremony when there are 3 stars in the sky – isn’t that poetic? – and we all hold hands and coil up into a huge, full-camp spiral on the soccer field. We put our arms around each other’s shoulders and sing about friendship and beauty and love and light, and we pass around spices and wine. We hold up our hands to a burning candle in the center of the spiral and take note of the way we can see our bones and veins and vessels with the light of the flame; a beautiful reminder of just how human we all are. & we all bid farewell to the sabbath bride and welcome in a new week. “A good week, a week of peace, may gladness reign, and joy increase…”

And there are SO many more things I miss & so much more to look forward to (that will be another post, again, linked here) but havdalah seemed like a good note to end on.

Moving on to the ~promised pics~

I did my best to organize them chronologically, but no promises bwaha. The first set is this past summer (gesher) and the second set will be summers before that (and probably not organized in any way oops).

happy table
(I’m on the far right with my wife Sadie)
scream!
me, screaming and having fun and being terrified
happy leading
leading a prayer during friday night shabbat service!
nymph shabbat
absolutely glowing :,)
song session!
not even in this one but I love my unit so much so here you go
torah
me and Noah with a torah
hike timee
BEACH HIKE let’s gooo
leading maccabia
leading during maccabiah!
happy shabbat
look. look at this happy girl. last shabbat of the session and I am absolutely the happiest in the universe.
bestie, look how HAPPY
dancing :,)

Oooookay now years past:

aww mess
the OG trio acting as fairies in “The Rabbi of Oz”. this was so fabulous and funny and extra, and I think I played a dentist fairy. fun fact. jews are weird.
closing campfire
aww we were singing our cabin song at the closing campfire
closing campfire pt. 2
such happy babies! awh

 

As you can tell, my love for JCA is immeasurable. But this pretty lil rant got most of my wistful energy out. Excuse me while I go try and remember the moves to Denis Denis with my little brother (who, by the way, also misses camp. JCA’s charms are unbeatable).

Yours truly,

Mia

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