The list of what to send to camp with my daughter arrived this week. They want her to bring one of those lacrosse sticks for beginners.
Tsaytn derlebt, as my parents used to say, “Look what we’ve lived to see”: a Jewish camp where they play lacrosse, a sport that exists only in order to realize all of my mother’s worst fears for my health. I’m from Canada and I know from lacrosse: you could poke an eye out, break an arm or leg or, God forbid, do yourself something before you even knew what hit you.
The one time I went to camp, there was no such thing as lacrosse. They were afraid of what we might do with the sticks. The camp, for delinquents from religious homes, was called Shoymer Pesoyim (the name comes from the Psalms; it means “the Lord looks out for idiots”) and was primarily devoted to Talmud under the open sky. The athletic program consisted of water sports; every Friday afternoon, each boy got five minutes alone in the mikveh with a snorkel.
The only thing we had that even resembled anything they have at my daughter’s camp was arts and crafts. They used to let us whittle. Every boy got a knife and something to carve, and we used to sit there in the moyel workshop, just us, the knives and carrot after carrot after baby carrot.
We ate nothing but salad and tsimmes. I’m so glad my daughter will be playing lacrosse.
This article originally appeared in The Jewish Week. Below are some items for sale from eBay for those of you with an interest in Yiddish.
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