I admit I did not grow up in Young Judaea; however, I am a Judaean. Maybe, with enough years of working for Young Judaea professionally (started in 1995 as an Assistant Regional Director), that gives me the right to say I am a Judaean. What is a Judaean? I think that question could mean many different things to many different people. Judaeans are easy to spot. They are the Jews with a strong sense of identity and a love for Israel who are involved in the community. They might be wearing t-shirts with Hebrew, hold leadership positions in the Jewish community and have a strong opinion about Israel (ok several). This month I want to highlight a special Judaean: Jaime Karakowsky. Jaime has gone from camper to staff member at CYJ and is now a young adult building a career and getting involved in the Houston Jewish community. He spoke last month at the Dallas Israel Bonds Dinner and was given the honor of speaking right before President George W. Bush. See the Texas Jewish Post article here.
Jaime said in his speech, “….my 6 summers spent at Camp Young Judaea – Texas, just outside of Austin, proved how real this connection is to the other Jewish communities in Israel and around the world. At CYJ, my fellow campers and counselors came from Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, other parts of the United States and even from Europe and Israel. I learned that, as diverse as our backgrounds were, we didn’t just share a bunk; we shared a story. We shared a history. We really were an extended family.”
Jaime is one of so many involved Judaeans. We are so proud of him. As we are preparing for the summer, I am reminded that we are truly building leaders one bunk at a time.