Last summer, during my time at Camp Hess Kramer in Malibu, I told a story during Shabbat about a rabbi who loved to be out in nature and found himself getting lost, being found by some bandits, learning a nigun (a tune with no words) from them and having to take it back to teach to others because it was too great to forget. During the story, as I was talking about all the amazing things the rabbi saw in nature, two deer just happened to literally jump into the middle of the outdoor chapel. The campers were amazed, as was I. After the deer took their leave of us, I continued the story, including teaching the camp the nigun.
For the rest of my time up at camp, the campers sang the nigun and talked about the deer. I later learned that I was nicknamed the “Deer Whisperer!” It was a great honor to have such an experience with the campers last summer – so much so, that I even used it in one of my Rosh Hashanah Sermon. But I never really realized what kind of impact the whole experience had on the campers.
Today, after Matt and I dropped off DovLev for her camp experience, Matt, JediYeled and I headed to Camp Hess Kramer. Upon our arrival, campers and staff alike, were approaching me and telling me how great last summer’s story was and how excited they were to see me. Some came up seeing the nigun, others told me about how incredible it was for them to have the deer in the service. Another told me about her morning run and seeing some deer along her route and realizing how incredible the world is all around her.
It’s amazing to think how one little story, one nigun and two deer can impact the lives of a lot of incredible youth and adults alike. It’s a reminder that what we do and what we say will be remembered for a long time. Therefore, we must take advantage of the moments that we have to say something, do something, or just be someone that will inspire another.