Teach Your Children Well

Only a few months into my son’s first year of preschool, I heard him singing at the table as he ate his snack. It didn’t surprise me, my kid LOVES to sing (thank you, musician husband). It also didn’t surprise me that, at first, I couldn’t quite place (read: understand) what he was singing; he wasn’t even 2 years old at the time. But as I made my way back to the table, what I thought was just gibberish became clearer to me.

To confirm what I thought I had heard, I excitedly prompted him: “Hallelu, hallelu, hallelu, halleluyah…”

He smiled from ear to ear and clearly responded “O du la shem!”

We sang together at the kitchen table, he was amused that mommy knew something his teachers taught him, and I fell in love with the many ways my life has led me back to Camp Wise.

As a Jew, and a professional Jew, I can trace many of the things I hold dear back to Camp Wise. It was there that I learned what it was to have meaningful Jewish practice. It was there that I learned to be a part of a community, and to respect the ties that bind. In fact, many of the most important people in my life have a CW connection, even if we never went to camp together. Just sharing a love of the Home of Happiness is enough.

It was because I loved CW that I joined BBYO in high school (so I could see all my CW friends from across the region), setting me on a trajectory to what has become an almost 20 year career in Jewish communal service. And thanks to past Camp Wise Director Jodi Sperling, I met my husband (thanks, Jodi!).

I’m honored to know that I am a part of Camp Wise’s 110-year tradition and a member of a community of thousands of campers, past, present and future. Including my mom, my brother. I am delighted to make a gift to the Alumni 110 campaign; I know that when my son becomes a camper he will learn to love Shabbat in the chapel just as the generations before him.


Janna Rogat Dorfman was a camper from 1987-1991 and is Director of Admissions for the Gross Schechter Day School in Pepper Pike, Ohio.

Join Janna in contributing to the Camp Wise Alumni Campaign, click here to donate.