I want to take a second today and have you think back. Think back to your first time ever coming to Camp Louise. For some that was just a few days ago, for others that was over 20 years ago. Imagine walking through those big gates. The feeling of excitement and maybe some nervousness. Maybe you were scared that people weren’t going to like you or accept you for who you are. Maybe you were ready to take on a new place with new people. For me, I was ready to come home. For all of us, this is the home that we’ve been needing.

Something that is truly magical and special is our camp family. We come here each summer to be with people who understand us on a deeper level. Being in a community of mostly all women is truly empowering. From having our younger campers learn new skills each day to watching them become our trainees, the true spirit of camp. Camp is a place where dreams come true and friendships become stronger. This is a place where you come in alone and leave with sisters for life. The Camp Louise family is unlike any other, from our rich history and traditions to our fantastically diverse staff. 

I have a little story about my first summer at camp. I was in Unit B with Reesa Pearlman as my unit leader. It was the year 2000 and I had just finished my first summer at Camp Louise. When I got home the first thing I said to my mom was, “I’m a feminist!” My mom looked at me and asked, “Rachel, do you even know what that is?” I looked at her confused but with such false confidence, and said, “Nope! But I know I am one!”

When you grow up in a culture of powerful females, you don’t even the realize the impact it has on you. From watching girls rock out in bands together to seeing the power on someone’s face after conquering their fears on the Adventure Park. Camp gives you the opportunity to become a leader as well as make mistakes. This place is for second, third, fourth chances as well as a place to give you support when you fall down. This camp is a place where you find your voice, your spirit, and your passion. This is a place for women to be who they want to be and make the changes in the world they want to see.

This week’s Torah portion is called “Pinchas” This Torah portion has some truly incredible feminism in it. Five women change the law to make it more inclusive to women’s right. These five women went up to Moses, made their point about how they should be able to inherit their father’s land after his passing. In those times only sons could have the land of their father. Since these sisters had no brothers, they believed that they deserved the land. Moses talked to God and made a new law for these women and the future women who might deal with this issue. These five women spoke up for what they wanted, showing us that if you speak up and fight for what you want you can truly do anything. This Torah portion could not be more perfect for our community. We are a community of strong independent women coming together to make this world a better place.

Shabbat Shalom.

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