By Roberta Glick, Eisner and Crane Lake Board Chair
Yesterday was an incredible day at Eisner Camp. We are blessed to have two new buildings this summer: the Olim Beit Am, a program and gathering space for our oldest unit, and the Messinger Leadership Center, which serves as both the home for our Machon program and the springboard for the new Northeast Teen Collective. The new Olim Beit Am was made possible by hundreds of donations from Olim “classes” from 1980 to present. The Messinger Leadership Center is a visionary gift from the Messinger family, ardent supporters of the mission of Eisner Camp – to create the next generation of Jewish adults.
After our joint Stakeholder’s Assembly at Crane Lake Camp in the morning, friends and supporters of camp made their way to Eisner and gathered at the base of Olim hill. All of camp lined the road to the top of the hill, ascending in age. Each camper held a sign, such as “OLIM 2017/MACHON 2019,” sharing in which year they would reach the top of the hill, in which year they would become Olim and Machon, in which year they would take on leadership roles at camp. Louis invited all of our visitors to share in the experience of “Becoming Olim,” of climbing the hill, as all of camp sang and cheered. At the top of the hill, visitors arrived at the Olim Beit Am, where Rabbi Matt Cutler, our faculty member for Olim, led all of camp in the blessing for affixing a mezuzah. Karen Berman and Erica Penn, the chairs of our effort to rebuild this sacred place, hung the mezuzot with their families.
Campers and visitors then journeyed down the hill, as Chaverim, Tzofim, Olim, and Machon gathered on Universal Lawn in front of the Messinger Leadership Center. Rabbi Aaron Panken, President of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, spoke on behalf of the Messinger family, who gathered at the four doors of the new building to hang mezuzot on those doorposts as well. With blessings and songs led by Rabbi Danny Freelander, President of the World Union for Progressive Judaism, we honored the incredible contribution of this family in expanding our capacity for the Machon program to 80 spaces now and more in future years. What an amazing day!