You're Invited: Herzl Camp Shabbat Dinner

lonny-herzlMy daughter and I made our second trek to Herzl Camp for family camp last August, and to say she was excited would be an understatement. After the two-hour drive — much of it spent bouncing around the backseat — she couldn’t wait to get started on the fun. While the climbing wall and kayaking were the things she was most looking forward to, her favorite part of the weekend was something I wasn’t expecting.
Spending time in the Gan Kihelati — Herzl’s organic garden that was started last summer — was an afterthought before we got there. Once we saw it however, it was the first thing she wanted to do.
Along with many of her friends, they picked (and ate) fresh cucumbers and tomatoes off the vines, found ripe peppers, smelled fresh herbs and harvested massive zucchinis and eggplants which were brought to the kitchen and cooked for dinner on Saturday night. The time in the Gan Kihelati was so inspiring, we’re going to try our own garden at home this summer.
The Gan Kihelati will be the focus of Herzl’s effort to bring a camp experience to people in the middle of winter. Herzl’s Shabbat dinner, at Adath Jeshurun Congregation on Friday, Feb. 8 at 6 p.m., is a fundraiser with all proceeds going to growing the garden program. TC Jewfolk is proud to be the exclusive media sponsor for the event.
“We want the Gan Kihelati to be part of Herzl’s heritage,” says Anna Simon, Herzl Camp Community Relations and Event Manager.
The event will do its best to replicate the Herzl Shabbat experience. Attendees are encouraged to wear their whites as the campers and staff do, while experiencing a camp-like Shabbat service led by Rabbi Joseph Robinson and songleader Daniel “Gordo” Goldschmidt. Following services, there will be a camp-like caravan to the social hall for the traditional Shabbat dinner of chicken and matzo ball soup. And following dinner there will be a song session featuring camp favorites.
“We want to introduce parents and those who haven’t been to camp for awhile about the traditions of camp,” says Simon.
For me, one of the most amazing parts of the garden isn’t just that campers get to sample the fresh produce from it. It’s that it teaches campers ways to connect to nature in a very hands-on way: planting, weeding and harvesting the food. Staff also teaches kids about how to eat healthy and caring for the earth.
Most importantly is that it allows the camp to give back to its neighbors in Webster, WI, and Burnett county; extra produce is donated to local food shelves and programs like Head Start.
Tickets for the Herzl Shabbat dinner are required and not sold at the door. Cost is $36 per adult, $18 for students (age 13 and up), and $8 per child (3-12 years old). There is no charge for children under 2. Go to the Herzl Camp website to purchase tickets, or email Anna Simon for more information or to volunteer.