Tuesday, 9 June 2009

I Never Tire of The Drive Up Moore Road!

I have spoken in this space on many occasions as to the importance a small cow patch in the middle of Indiana farm country has played in my life and in the lives of my family, both immediate and extended. It is very difficult to explain to the uninitiated as to how a camp with a few broken down cabins, swimming pools rather than a lake, strange odours that, depending on the direction of the wind could either be the kitchen or the cows from the farm next door, and gravel roads could possibly have been so formative in my growth, but there it is! This is the place where I learned how to live Jewishly. This is the place where I learned how to do my own laundry. This is the place where I was schooled in parenting 101 at the tender age of 18 and this is the place where I learned the value of grilled cheese and tomato soup for lunch. It is also the place where the geeky kid could be the lead in the summer play or where the shy artsy could find a home studying Torah and singing Z'mirot. (Hebrew songs!) It has been more than 25 years since my last summer at Goldman Union Camp, and yet I still feel a strange sensation in the pit of my stomach as I realize that Kallah Aleph is a few days from commencing or a odd curiousity as to what musical Anaf might be presenting. It helps that my progeny have become just as attached to this oasis in the Midwest as was their mother. Since 1995, one or both of the boys has acted as my agent at GUCI as they have assumed the familial obsession. But, I still want to be there. I know it is odd and strange that a middle-aged woman should want to go to summer camp, but there is a part of me that longs for the void that GUCI used to fill. So it was with great excitement and anticipation that The Husband and I headed to the heat and humidity of Indiana on the weekend for a quick stopover. (OY-My hair!!)

The camp is finally entering into the 21st century with the building and dedication of the state-of-the-art Mercaz Tarboot. (Cultural Centre!) This multi-million dollar building is unlike anything that this dump of a camp has ever seen. It will house all of the arts programming on camp and will finally allow GUCI to demonstrate what its denizens have known for decades; that this camp is the cultural hotbed of all of the Union's summer destinations. It may not have a stunning lakefront with water skiing or sailing, and it may not have acres and acres of greenery, but it has something much more important and much more intangible. This camp has a Jewish heart and soul. The kids who come together in the centre of Indiana each and every summer know instinctively what matters most to them, and they have been rewarded with this magnificent building. 

For those of you who are familiar with the fluttering tickle that arises in the stomach when you finally make that turn onto Moore Road, you might be shocked by this new edifice. At first glance it is very "un"camp. It is not painted brown and yellow like every other structure in the place. Stunning. It is enormous, with a stage that can accommodate the entire camp, a huge fireplace for indoor campfires, and an Aron HaKodesh (ark) built into one of the walls. There are separate rooms in the basement (BASEMENT!!) for music, dance, and digital photography chugim. (interest groups) The building has bathrooms without spiders and with toilets that flush and the absolute best in all audio and visual technology. (I can't even procure a working microphone for my synagogue!) The place is pristine, at least until the campers show up today and I am told that the man in charge is being very judicious with the keys. 

486 separate donors made this building a reality. 486!! People literally gave what they could because they truly cared about Goldman and the work done there. When they were asked, they never questioned, they simply gave. This building and all of the kids who will benefit from it, will stand as testament and as honour to the man who touched all of their lives. Thank you GUCI for allowing me yet another opportunity to come to camp.


  1. Thanks Dawn, for capturing so eloquently those indescribable feelings so many of us share with you. It may be another year before we get back there, so until then, I'll have to experience camp and this magnificent new addition vicariously through those that are privileged to be there this summer!

    smiles from Minnesota,


  2. Beautiful, Dawn. I so would have liked to be there. I can't imagine a time when I would not get that feeling when I made the turn from 86th street to Moore Rd. By the way, the audio system is truly thanks to Barry Snyder, who worked miracles on behalf of camp. Thanks for sharing.

    Dan Pliskin