I spent nine summers at a Jewish summer camp. An even span across my childhood, teenage years, and even into adulthood as I tried my hardest to never get a real job. My parents will hate me for saying this (among other things I will discuss later on) — but Jewish camp raised me. And just like we all have our parents to thank and blame for everything good or bad in our lives — I credit Jew camp for many of my life lessons. Some of which, just as with my parents — I have grown to very much resent. So today, I’m inviting you all to ride with me as I attempt to come to terms with some of those lessons and their consequential resentments…
Resentment Number 1: The lack of diversity among my friends.
I was always fucking cool at camp — and that wasn’t so much the case in middle or high school. Camp goggles was also a very real thing — I was a six, maybe a seven (on a good day) in La Canada — the Southern California town where I grew up surrounded by Mormons, industry kids, and spoiled conservatives. But at camp, I was a strong nine. Those nerdy Jewish boys LOVED me. It made me think I could only really get along with Jews — gentiles just didn’t get me, or appreciate my child bearing hips. So even now, after I have firmly abandoned my desire to live solely amongst the chosen people, 90% of my friends are Jewish. Camp raised me to cherish my connection to other carriers of the tay-sachs gene, and left me entirely inept at building a relationship with anyone who wasn’t lactose intolerant.
Resentment Number 2: Too much Jewish penis.
A direct result of problem one — I hooked up with a lot of those nerdy Jewish boys. I swear to you, I had never seen an uncircumcised dick until a few months ago. I have nothing against Jewish guys really, it’s just that similarly to how I wish I had more diversity inside my friend group — I wish there had been more diversity inside my vagina. I’m trying to make up for it now, resisting the urge to only swipe right on the Steins, Rosens, and Goldbergs of Bumble, but it’s been difficult to overcome nine years of Jew Camp education and generations of Shtetl mentality..
Resentment Number 3: Israel.
I could talk about the unhealthy relationship choices I’ve made as a result of my years at Jew camp all night, but the most unhealthy of them all has been with Israel. Admittedly, Jew camp didn’t tell me I HAD to move to Israel. It didn’t tell me that, in four years of living there — I should never have a real conversation with a Palestinian. It didn’t tell me to think that I was a better Jew for living in Israel. I made those choices on my own, I took it a bit too far — and I’m fucking ashamed of it, that’s on me. But Jew camp did tell me to love Israel — to be a Zionist. It did teach me a one-sided narrative that made excuses for racist and undemocratic behavior. It did teach me that Israel belongs to me — and in doing so, Jew camp taught me that it was right to believe that it didn’t belong to anyone else.
So yea, I have some issues with the way I was raised. And like every true millennial — I’m working through them with my therapist. But I can’t finish this story without thanking Jewish camp for something very, very important:
A sexual education.
Yes, I remember when two minutes ago I was complaining about the abundance of Jewish cock in my life. But exclusively circumcised is better than nothing — because if it weren’t for Jewish camp, I’d know less than Jon Snow seasons 1–3. I gave my first hand job at 14 — in the hallway next to the dance room while a group of girls choreographed their number to Dave Matthews’ Crash Into Me for the end of summer arts festival . Sam Holmes was a lucky guy. And by 18, (you may think this is a bit too old to still be at camp — but I had at least three years left…) I was taking the virginity of the six foot four Israeli Scout whose english was passable at best. He called me Dani California and I still can’t listen to that song without thinking about Asif and the massive amount of coordination it took to find a room at camp that felt private enough for fucking. When my parents tried to sit me down for “the talk” before I headed off to college — I honestly think I could have given it to them instead.
It turns out that in teaching me to love Jews, camp really taught me to how to loooooooveeee… Jews. And for that, no matter how conflicted I may be about all the other shit, I will forever be grateful.