I am spending the week as the camp Rabbi at Camp JRF in the Pocono Mountains where my daughter is a camper. Jewish camps started a century ago to help Americanize new immigrants. Today they serve the opposite purpose, offering American Jewish children an opportunity to spend the summer immersed in Judaism. The kids come for a different reason altogether - they want to be with their friends and away from their parents. It is in overnight camp that they learn independence and nurture leadership skills. In Journeying from their homes they discover more about themselves.
This week in the Torah, in Parashat Matot-Masei, Moses lists all the stops the Israelites have made since leaving Egypt. Some of the stops, like Mount Sinai are well known, others are only mentioned here. They are more than dots on a map, but are part of the development of our budding nation. Just like the campers in Jewish overnight camps, by journeying, they discovered new parts of themselves, gained confidence, and learned how to be adults.