Joan Kripke’s Reflection

This reflection originally appeared in the Camp Ramah in Wisconsin 40th Anniversary Book. 

My first memory of camp is riding the bus from the Rhinelander train station and listening to two Machon girls talk about the mysterious Gibbons family. Another experience I laugh at now: my fear of going to Shabbat free swim and getting stuck with “zug” number 15 or 16, because I didn’t know which was tet-vav and which was tet-zayin. Not only did you have to know Hebrew, but you had to know how to add too! After years as a waterfront staff member, I realized this was not only my secret fear. Other memories: wondering what this Kiddush Levanah ceremony was and wondering what yelling “Shalom Aleichem” “Aleichem Shalom” across the tennis courts had to do with Jewish ritual.

I’m still curious to know if Charley the Cook’s cigarette ashes ever fell into the cooking pots, or if the ranger station in Conover ever got mad when we switched their fire alert needle. Has anyone ever seen another “white albino deer” after Denton’s – and if so, do they come in another color beside white? I’ve never seen the Northern Lights again since camp nor a sky with such a “plethora of stars.” (thank you Mike Menitoff). Finally, I’ve never quite been able to explain to non-Ramahniks why I wanted to return endlessly to a camp where I had to daven, go to Hebrew classes and sleep with more clothes on than most people wear to ski. I still miss it.