Jeremy J. Fingerman

Mah Rabu, Notice and Wonder!

Returning camp staff from 60+ overnight camps singing Mah Rabu at Foundation for Jewish Camp's 21st annual Cornerstone Fellowship Seminar. (used with permission)
Returning camp staff from 60+ overnight camps singing Mah Rabu at Foundation for Jewish Camp's 21st annual Cornerstone Fellowship Seminar. (used with permission)

Following months of preparations, camp season 2023 is finally here! More than 325 Jewish day and overnight camps across North America have already begun to welcome over 180,000 chanichim (campers) and madrichim (counselors) for a joyous Jewish summer filled with friendships, learning, and fun.

As you know, camp counselors are the linchpins of the Jewish camp experience. A few weeks ago, I had the privilege to join our 21st Cornerstone Fellowship Seminar, one of FJC’s signature programs, which brings to life FJC’s role as convener, catalyst, and resource for the field. It was extraordinarily inspiring to observe these returning camp counselors developing and enhancing their own leadership, programming, and role-modeling skills.

Convener: FJC brought together 400+ participants representing 60+ different camps across denominations and affiliations which foster an environment of learning, sharing, and exploring beyond their own individual camps. We take great pride in the intentional cross-pollination which takes place.

Catalyst: Being selected as a Cornerstone Fellow serves as a mark of distinction and honor and encourages the counselor to return to camp for yet another summer. For over 5,000 alumni, this highly regarded Fellowship truly sets them on their path toward Jewish communal leadership.

Resource: This year’s theme – Mah Rabu, Notice and Wonder (Psalm 104) – encouraged Fellows to stop, notice, and live life in “radical amazement and spiritual engagement” and to convey that sense of awe to their own camp communities. We make materials and resources developed by the faculty available to all camps in our network. Click here to listen to this year’s Cornerstone Theme Song, composed by talented FJC faculty member, Chana Rothman.

I was so proud of this remarkable and talented group of young adults, and I am confident they not only will make an incredible mark on their camps this summer but also will become inspired and valued Jewish leaders for our community in the future. We thank the generous Cornerstone funders – the Marcus Foundation, Crown Family Philanthropies, the Morningstar Foundation, and an anonymous national foundation for making this possible.

Thank you for your continued interest in the important work of our field. We remain grateful for your ongoing support of FJC and our efforts to partner with Jewish camps to make it the most effective, positive experience for building joyous Jewish identity and engagement.

With best wishes for a healthy, safe, and enjoyable summer – filled with wonder and awe!

About the Author
Jeremy J. Fingerman has served as CEO of Foundation for Jewish Camp (FJC) since 2010. Prior to joining FJC, he had a highly-regarded 20+ year career in Consumer Packaged Goods, beginning at General Mills, Inc, then at Campbell Soup Company, where he served as president of its largest division, US Soup. In 2005, he was recruited to serve as CEO of Manischewitz. Jeremy, a former board Vice-Chair of JPRO (the network of Jewish communal professionals), received the 2023 Bernard Reisman Award for Professional Excellence from Brandeis University.
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