Perhaps participating in Camp Or L’Dor is HaShem’s way to show me His
workings in the big picture of where our movement is going. We so often get
caught up in the day-to-day that it’s at this annual event that I can see so
clearly His Hand at work, not just in the details but in the advancement
from where Messianic Judaism has been to what lies ahead.
This year is Camp Or L’Dor’s tenth camp, our first one starting the summer
of 2009 at Camp Berea in NH with 9 campers as a beta test for the concept.
For the next five years we were hosted by Surprise Lake Camp in NY, the
oldest continuously running Jewish camp in the U.S. We had a year at Camp
Louemma a Jewish camp in NJ, and two years at Camp Chi, the JCC Midwest
regional camp in Ill. This year we are at Camp Poyntelle, an amazing Jewish
camp in Pa. I have to say, to quote Goldilocks, not too hot (well maybe. .
.), not too cold, just right.
From my perspective as a person who interfaces often with the mainstream
Jewish community, the understanding that Messianic Jews are members of the
community has changed dramatically over time, not only internally for some
within our movement, but markedly vis-à-vis our relationship with the
greater mainstream Jewish community. We are not seeking acceptance, but
rather, normalization. As has been the same in each previous host camp
arrangement, even though Camp Or L’Dor’s curriculum and activities are
separate from those of Camp Poyntelle, nevertheless, there are opportunities
for interchange, joint services, and meaningful discussions with their
leaders, counselors, and campers. Our very presence is a testimony as we
carry out our daily services and programs, never hiding our belief in
I can only say that the way we are interfacing this very first year at Camp
Poyntelle is at the level of normalization that we attained after 4-5 years
of being hosted at Surprise Lake Camp. At our first Shabbat here, their
leaders introduced Camp Or L’Dor to the entire camp as their guests and
They asked us to serve ourselves first at the Erev Shabbat meal. It felt so
different to be treated as a guest, special in a good way, from the
beginning. We typically start out at a new place with curious looks about
who we are and with no formal introduction. They asked our musicians to
accompany their Kabbalat Shabbat service leaders on the very first Shabbat
I do believe this is a special place where the importance of treating
others with kindness is actually taught. Yet I also believe there is a
larger mystical development at work as HaShem is softening the hearts of our
brothers and sisters on this issue of the intended welcome place for Jewish
believers in Messiah within the Jewish community. As we return to our
people, so, too, does Yeshua. Camp Or L’Dor is an annual marking of
comparison to where
we were 5 and 10 years ago and a peek at the vision of where we will be in
I thank HaShem for making each year’s camp even more amazing than the year
before. I thank Him for the incredible young leaders He has provided. I
thank Him for advancing His plan through our camp. And I thank Him for
allowing Camp Or L’Dor to not only be a light to the next generation of our
campers, but to be a light to our people as well.
May your week be blessed with these signs of wonder too as you are living
out these days of awe, in preparation for the upcoming Days of Awe, and for
those someday when Messiah returns.