Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Chukas HaGoyim?

Browsing around the internets, I came across this interesting recollection in an article by Timothy Noah about how people react to summer camp:
"Some people really, really enjoy camp. I wish I could tell you that these people grow up to be really, really normal, but they don't. You know who I'm talking about. These are the ones who wept uncontrollably when the paper-mache numbers spelling out 1967 were set ablaze on a little raft that a camp counselor, under cover of darkness, towed stealthily to the middle of Lake Weecheewachee on the evening of the last group sing."
Group sing? Every Jewish camp -even the uber-Haredim- does something just like that after Eicha is read. To be honest, I never understood the point -- why burn the year? -- and the discovery that this ritual was copied from the WASP camps doesn't shed any light on it.

PS. At my camp, the numbers (letters actually: This was the hebrew year) were gasoline soaked tampons-- not paper mache.

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