The West Hempstead community recently had the incredible privilege of hosting close to 40 campers and staff from Camp HASC.
Accompanied by direct one-on-one counselors, as well as additional staff members, the special campers joined the Eitz Chayim of Dogwood Park minyan for Kabbalat Shabbat on Friday night, led by singing sensation and Camp HASC staff alum Mordechai Shapiro. Joined by camp alumni spanning the past 30 years as well as supporters and community members, the Shabbos meal on Friday night was filled with divrei Torah and sharing of amazing camp memories. After dinner, the group headed over to the home of Lisa and Larry Siegel to join the community for an inspiring, ruach-filled oneg with Mordechai Shapiro.
The Siegels were visibly moved by the event. Larry, himself a former camp head counselor, said “It was a great honor for Lisa and me to be able to host the oneg. The oneg quickly became an inspirational tisch led by Mordy Shapiro. A personal highlight for me was the singing of our camp song and the elation felt by the campers in getting excited for Camp HASC 2017!” During his speech at the oneg, Larry made this insightful observation: “On reflection, I would say that Camp HASC and my campers taught me that the everyday blessings of life are truly extraordinary.”
On Shabbos day, the campers and counselors had a chance to meet the community by davening at different shuls and eating with their hosts. The group gathered for a fun and camp-style recreational activity at the home of Meryl and Jeremy Strauss on Shabbos afternoon. Joined by close to 30 alumni from Netiv Aryeh, including Rav Bina, the campers and their counselors had time to reconnect and reminisce together before heading out to Minchah and seudas shlishis at Congregation Anshei Shalom.
Rabbi Avi Pollak, the Camp HASC boys’ head counselor, in from Bet Shemesh, Israel, joined the Shabbaton as well. Growing up in West Hempstead himself, Rabbi Avi reflected on how beautiful it was to see his Camp HASC family joining together with his West Hempstead family for a Shabbos of unity and acceptance.
“It was phenomenal to see the magic of Camp HASC outside the confinements of a summer in Parksville, NY. Those unfamiliar with Camp HASC’s reputation were able to witness firsthand the love and care with which our counselors treat their campers. With as much time and effort that was put into this Shabbaton, it would have been nothing without the incredible enthusiasm and care each one of the counselors brought to this Shabbos,” said Jenny Konigsberg, one of the coordinators of the Shabbaton.
Thank you so much to all the people who worked tirelessly in making this Shabbaton a success: Camp HASC’s Rabbi Peretz Hochbaum, Michael Adler, Baila Mandelbaum, and Jenny Konigsberg, as well as the various shuls and community members who welcomed Camp HASC into their homes this Shabbos.
Thank-you to the various sponsors of the Shabbaton including Kenny Jerome/Creative Cuisine, I&D Glatt, and the Jewish Star; the Shabbaton committee; as well as Eric and Tzippy Thall and Doreen and Beryl Eckstein for their help in planning and arranging such a successful Shabbaton.
Throughout the year and all summer long, Camp HASC is committed to providing meaningful care and support services for individuals with special needs and their families.
Camp HASC needs support from friends and partners in the communities that it serves to continue doing this amazing and much needed work. To see more of the magic that happens in Camp HASC and to get involved in miracles that happen daily, visit CampHASC.org.