Kikar Connection: Ramah Profile Sean Herstein

Meet Our Tzevet: Sean Herstein

Background:
I am from Minneapolis and grew up at Beth El Synagogue.  I learned about camp during a presentation at the Minneapolis Talmud Torah and started attending in 1991, my Bogrim summer.  I have been at camp (or on Ramah Seminar) for at least one machzor every summer since except for 3 summers.  Currently my wife, two daughters, and I live in Los Angeles where I work at Milken Community Schools as the Middle School Jewish Studies Department Chair.  We have been here for almost 7 years now.

Favorite camp event:
I have so many favorite events at camp, and they sometimes change from year to year.  That said, I have always really enjoyed the Zimriyah.  There is something special about all of the ruach and the sheer volume of the singing.  Aidot show such pride and excitement to represent in the first major all-camp event of the summer. This has especially been strong over the most recent number of summers with the strengthening of the shira and instrumental music programs.  I have always enjoyed playing trumpet along with the musicians at the Zimriyah.  Tzevet muzica pour their hearts and souls into the event and it really makes for a fantastic night.

Skill or life lesson learned at camp that has been useful at home:
When I try to think of a specific skill that I learned at camp I automatically go to davening and reading Torah.  I recevied a wonderful foundation in these skills in preparation for my Bar-Mitzvah, but it was at camp where I really had the opportunity to lead, learn new services, and work on Torah readings.  I even chanted verses from Kohelet for our minyan in Los Angeles using the trope that I picked up by osmosis every Kabbalat Shabbat at camp.

One thing you couldn’t live without:
One thing I couldn’t live without is the freedom to travel.  I so much enjoy road-tripping and visiting friends and family in different cities.  I have even driven from LA to camp twice and I can’t wait to do it again.

One thing about you that may surprise us:
Those of you who have been to camp over the past 25 years, probably know at least a little about me.  I am not sure what would surprise you, other than the fact that I have made a point to work at camp almost every summer since I started as a JC in 1995.  I only missed the two summers when my daughters were born and one summer when I did Ulpan at Hebrew University.

Camp is….
Camp is where I am most relaxed, most myself, and most respected on the basketball court.  Seriously, I am old and slow.  Somehow, at camp I feel like an all-star.  Also, camp is where I get to watch Miriam and Nava fall in the love with the place where I learned to love Judaism.  It’s an amazing opportunity.

One hope or wish for 5778:
Most of my wishes and prayers right now are for health and success for my wife and kids.  That probably sounds cliche, but with so many problems in the world right now it is easier to focus on home.  Maybe I can say that I hope that my girls continue to be aware of the role they can play in improving the world and making it an easier place to everyone to live and thrive in.  We need everyone.

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