A Summer That Lasts A Lifetime
Since 1952, OSRUI has provided campers a place to build lifelong friendships,
explore Judaism, and have the time of their lives.
A Note From Scott Goode - Temple Chai Assistant Director of Education, Youth, & Engagement
I wanted to take a minute to highlight a major chapter of my story, a place and community that has served as one of the most influential pieces of my life respective to Judaism and beyond – Olin Sang Ruby Union Institute (OSRUI) – the URJ reform movement’s overnight camp. I was a camper at OSRUI for seven summers and a staff member for eight, and have spent countless weekends there for retreats and other programming. Through my time at OSRUI, and the relationships I created with my counselors, peers, and campers, I was able to forge a strong personal Jewish identity, feeling comfortable with the prayers, reading Hebrew, and Jewish culture. I also developed a deep connection to Israel and eventually studied abroad for a year in Israel at Ben-Gurion University (it should also be noted that of the thirty study abroad students, five were from OSRUI).
Additionally, I was able to explore many of my passions and be there to guide others in their explorations. From my experience as a camp counselor, I chose to pursue a career in education. Many of my friends from camp also chose to work in similar fields as teachers, educators, and leaders in their communities because of their experiences as camp counselors.
However, the greatest take away from OSRUI were the friendships created. There is nothing like the deep connections made at camp. My roommates during college and afterward were from camp, the groomsmen at my wedding were from camp, the people I reach out to when I am visiting a city are camp people.
My parents have often said that the best investment they ever made for my brother and I was OSRUI. They’d send us off each summer and watch us return more confident in ourselves and with a deeper connection to our Jewish peers, the Jewish community, and Israel. I’d have to say I agree with them and am grateful for my time at OSRUI.
Assistant Director of Education, Youth, & Engagement
For more information, visit the URJ Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute homepage.