Blog  Jewish, Not Jew-ish

Jewish, Not Jew-ish

By: Jeremy Cronig, Counselor

After three summers away, I returned to GUCI this summer to work as a counselor. I was filled with nerves and excitement to return this place. I attribute so much of who I am as a person and a Jew to my time as a camper here. The first day of staff week was filled with reunions with best friends I hadn’t seen in years. The first evening however, I had a mission. 3 summers prior, on my last day as a camper at GUCI, my cabin made a “time capsule” to place notes to ourselves and buried it underneath the Tayelet. So naturally, the first chance I got, I went to dig it up. Here is what I found:IMG_20160726_092133

The note ended with the statement: “Camp has influenced me by giving me the desire to be
actively Jewish the rest of my life”.

I couldn’t believe that my 15 year old self could be so insightful about my Judaism! As I read this statement, all of the incredible Jewish experiences of my time as a camper came back to me. Shuirim that gave me a vast basis of Jewish knowledge, the service parts I wrote that gave me the first opportunity I had to speak in front of a group, the limudim that allowed me to deeply explore my Judaism. Goldman Union Camp Institute not only inspired me to develop a strong Jewish identity, but allowed me to craft and mold it as well.

Living an actively Jewish life is the biggest part of who I am. This past year I had the incredible opportunity to serve as the North American President of NFTY – The Reform Jewish Youth Movement. In this role, I worked with thousands of teens across the continent to develop and deepen their own connections to Reform Judaism. My passion to do this for others came from staff and faculty doing this for me during my time as a camper at GUCI.

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Jeremy as an Anaf camper 2012, Jeremy as a Yom Sport captain 2016

This has been an enriching summer for me, being able to return to one of the places that made me the Jew I am today. It has been a pleasure to work tirelessly towards developing meaningful Jewish experiences for my campers, hopefully impacting and inspiring the next generation of Reform Jews.