My personal thanks to everyone who came out to Beth Emeth Bais Yehuda last Sunday to reunite and pick up a copy of the new book, "Remembering Camp Kvutza". There was an overwhelming turnout. Well, I was overwhelmed, but Lori was confident that everyone who hadn't already migrated to warmer climes would hitch up the dogsleds and make an effort to show up....and, as usual, she was right! By the end of the day, we only had about 25 copies left, and since then, they are fast disappearing, so it looks like there'll be another printing so we can put the book in stores, too! The Ontario Camping Association has taken an interest, too, since they are trying to organize a history of Jewish Camping in Ontario. You might say we started something big!
Here is a copy of the little speech I gave at the launch, for those of you who couldn't make it or came later:
You've probably heard the expression, "This book wrote itself"...In some ways, once I started writing about Camp Kvutza, I couldn't stop myself. It was as if, by writing about it, I was reliving those wonderful summers we all spent together on Lake Erie over 50 years ago.
I don't know if it was because we were so young and idealistic, or because those short summer months of our youth were so intensely packed with great experiences, that so many details still seemed so fresh in my memory. In my life, there are years, even decades, that have flown by, that I can't recall the way I can remember the most particular little details about camp.
From traipsing back to our cabins and tents after breakfast, eyes down, searching for four leaf clovers in the fields, to holding hands and swaying together to Rad Hayom, sending a little friendship squeeze all around our circle of friends....
And then, there were the larger Life Lessons that have stayed with us too. Respect for other cultures, for learning and caring about our world, and, of course, a deep appreciation and love of Eretz Israel.
For all I put into the book, there is still so much that could be added. So we've left a little room at the back for you to personalize, to fill in with your own special memories and pictures and to gather autographs from your old camp friends, today.
I want to thank my publisher, Marc Giacomelli, of Invisible Books, and the designer, Margaret Jeronimo-Andrews, neither of whom had the good fortune to attend Kvutza, but who worked so hard with me to recapture its spirit and legacy in these pages.
A special thanks goes out to my Aunt Razy Stolberg, who helped make the arrangements here today and who led the way to Camp Kvutza for my sister Lori and I those many years ago.
I especially want to thank my husband, Alan, who is my inspiration in all things creative, who has encouraged me all the 45 years we have shared together...in all my endeavours, from the kitchen to the classroom to the keyboard.
And, of course, my little sister, Lori, to whom the book is dedicated....
For always being by my side, in my face, in my head and in my corner.
Without her enthusiasm and encouragement, this book and this event, would never have happened.
On behalf of everyone here, I want to thank her.
Lastly, I want to thank all of you "Kvutzaniks" who encouraged me to put this into book form, who sent in their pictures and stories to enhance the collection in these pages, and who've come out here today to reunite and celebrate together.
For future news about the book and all things KVUTZA, go to kvutzamemories.blogspot.com
Feel free to leave comments and news on this or that blog.
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