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Jewish Life

Jewish life at Capital Camps is fun, pluralistic and immersive. Judaism provides the framework, values, traditions and essential understandings that guide everything we do. Jewish life at Capital Camps is about campers and staff having fun. Fun is a necessary component for Jewish identity-building. This includes living in cabins named after places in Israel, eating delicious kosher food and enjoying meaningful, vibrant and engaging musical Shabbat services and Havdalah. Our Israeli counselors are trained emissaries (shlichim) who bring a personal narrative and connect our campers in uniquely personal ways to our Jewish homeland.  We bring Israel to Waynesboro!

Our Shabbat worship, incorporating artwork, song and dance is both magnificent and memorable. Before Shabbat, campers are given extra time to prepare for Shabbat by cleaning our campgrounds, their personal space in their cabins and dressing in their “Shabbat whites”. After our campwide musical Shabbat service, we enjoy a delicious Shabbat meal, including fresh challah made by our Benjamin village campers. A highlight of the week is the high energy-filled song and dance session on Friday night. Imagine if you will, hundreds of people dressed in their “Shabbat whites” celebrating the arrival of Shabbat! We end Shabbat with the sweet spices and entwined candle at Havdalah.

Our camp prayer book (siddur) was created by campers and staff and includes thoughtful questions along with traditional prayers. On Shabbat morning, prior to our camp wide service, campers choose from a number of Shabbat-options (Shabboptions!): creek walking or hiking, visiting the farm, meditation or yoga, gathering to discuss challenging issues, acting out a skit, participating in a drum circle, and more.

Jewish life at Capital Camps is pluralistic. Our dining facility offers delicious kosher meals and snacks, certified by Star-K. Campers arrive with various levels of observance which offers the opportunity to learn from one another and celebrate traditions that are respectful to all. Jewish life is woven seamlessly throughout camp and allows campers to take ownership of their own spiritual journey.  Our local, Israeli and other international staff add a variety of perspectives. We encourage curiosity and respectful inquiry. Regardless of affiliation or degree of observance, Capital Camps is our community’s summer Jewish home.    

Being Jewish at camp is experienced through all the senses: touch, feel, taste, see and hear. Our day begins and ends in joyful prayer by singing Modeh Ani at the morning flagpoles and Hashkiveinu with our arms around each other in the evening. From food to afternoon program choices, Shabbat is a time that feels different. From blessings at the meals to the Hebrew names of our buildings, our summer home captures the true essence of Jewish sleepaway camp.