Becoming B’nai Mitzvah is a meaningful experience for an entire family, and the Camp Interlaken team has been thrilled to celebrate this simcha with many families over the years. Because B’nai Mitzvot are scheduled while campers are away from Camp, Interlaken doesn’t typically get to have “a part” in celebrating this milestone in a Jewish teen’s life. We realize, though, that the weeks that a camper spends at Camp are often the most meaningful and impactful Jewish experiences that our campers have during these formative years of theirs lives. 

After attending many mitzvah services, we noticed at some that leaders were delivering a gift to the teen from the bima. Organizations like day schools, local Jewish museums, synagogue brother or sisterhoods, and more had the opportunity to congratulate the teen, and bestow a gift upon them. We hoped that Camp Interlaken could join them, so we set out to create a meaningful gift that a camper would treasure throughout their whole life. 

The committee that was working on this reached out to artist, Emily Rosenfeld. Coincidentally, I love her Judaic art and have three of her mezuzot in my home: this one, this one, and this one. We immediately thought of a mezuzah as this is something that it is ok to have multiples of and it’s an item you can take with you along your Jewish journey. She designed a beautiful mezuzah for Camp Interlaken, and we have had the pleasure of gifting this mezuzah to our campers who become B’nai Mitzvah since the beginning of this school year. 

Local Milwaukee congregations have graciously welcomed a representative from Camp Interlaken to their bima at the appropriate time to gift the mezuzah to our camper and share with the community the intention behind the gift. In some congregations, they have been presented by camper friends, like in California when a couple campers from Milwaukee visited to celebrate their cabin-mate’s Bat Mitzvah. For those campers who live outside of Milwaukee, we have been sending the mezuzah via mail so they can receive it also. We are so proud of this new tradition, and we look forward to celebrating B’nai Mitzvot with our campers in the future! 

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