Jewish Life

Camp Laurelwood is a Jewish community that is deeply connected and committed to our core values. We work every day to build a kinder world that is reflected through a strong and vibrant Jewish community across the State of Connecticut and throughout the region. At Camp, we develop character traits that support each camper throughout their life; kindness, community-mindedness, and confidence. Each camper is viewed as unique, important, and special and deserves the chance to feel that way at Camp every day.

At Laurelwood, our community comes together for Shabbat. Campers and staff dress in white to usher in the Sabbath on Friday nights with services, kiddush, candle-lighting, and blessing over the Challah. A traditional Shabbat meal (including Matzah Ball Soup) is a highlight of the week and is followed by a spirited song session. Saturdays are made special by late wake-up time, a special breakfast, services, time for self-care and wellness activities, activity choices in the afternoon, and Havdalah under the stars.

Camp Laurelwood is guided by a set of core Jewish values, which help us achieve our Vision and Mission. We focus on one value or theme per week over the summer, and we integrate that value or theme into our programming and activities. These values are the inputs we give to our campers in support of building the world we aspire to live in.

Building Community: קהילה Kehillah

Inspiring a Connection to the Jewish People: כלל ישראל Klal Yisrael

From Generation to Generation: לדור ודור L’Dor V’Dor

Promoting a Healthy Spirit in a Healthy Body: שמירת הגוף והנפש Shmirat Haguf Vehanefesh

Bestowing Kindness: גמילות חסדים Gemilut Chasadim

When campers receive these values, they practice certain character traits (or middot).

What do campers continue to do at home or after Camp that tells you they are a Laurelwood camper? This is the impact of our time together over the summer:

  • Sing songs that are customary at Laurelwood - including an Alma (a special song written for our Olympics or Color War) from the summer
  • Practice self-care and wellness on Shabbat
  • Say a blessing before or after a meal
  • Do a bedtime ritual
  • Clean up after themselves
  • Practice words of kindness with family members
  • Show interest in others’ activities
  • Express themselves and feel confident in themselves
  • Express willingness to try new things
  • Keep in touch with Camp friends in a Camp-specific way - such as writing Shabbat-o-Grams or letters
  • Get together or celebrate Shabbat with a Camp friend
  • Comfort someone who is sad or not feeling well
  • Experience personal growth of some kind