By: Dena Kinderlehrer
(Editor’s Note: The letter below was written last week by Dena Kinderlehrer, the wife of JLNJ Co-Publisher and Founder Moshe Kinderlehrer. It was presented to the counselors last Friday before HASC ended and we have decided to reprint it here. The Kinderlehrers have a 17-year-old son, Zev, who has attended HASC for the past six years.)
Dear Jared, Zach, Jeremy, Meir and Sammy,
It’s hard to believe that HASC is almost over. I wanted to write you a letter before camp ends to tell you how much my husband and I appreciate and thank you for what you’ve done this summer. It’s really hard for parents to fully and properly express what you and HASC do for our family. We get to have seven weeks of relative quiet and the chance to do things we cannot do during the year.
Zev is our delicious and special son, but life with him can be very challenging and difficult for us and our other children. When Zev is home during the year we don’t have the freedom to leave the house without making sure that someone is home watching Zev; he cannot be left alone. With Zev at HASC we are able to do so many things that normally need complex coordination with other family members, friends and even babysitters for our now 17-year-old son. We can go bike riding, go away for a week, go to the store, and do so many other amazing things we cannot do with Zev home.
You all give yourselves to Zev and the other kids in the bunk for seven weeks of your summer. You could be doing many other things with yourselves. You love these kids; you bathe them, sing and dance with them, and dress them (FYI, we loved how Zev was dressed and had his hair styled this summer in all the pics we saw). You accept our children who they are and they all had an amazing summer experience—all thanks to you.
You are Zev’s caretakers and “parents” for these weeks. What’s so crazy and counterintuitive about this is that we know you love what you’re doing; my husband and I were both HASC counselors 20-plus years ago and we stood in your place long before we became parents. Even though you’re working incredibly hard you feel genuine love for our son and his campmates. And you are having incredible fun and a great time! We know and remember how we felt also…and we know that this hasn’t changed about the HASC experience.
I know the words “thank you” are inadequate, nor do they make you understand how indebted and forever grateful we are to you. But I hope you will take our thanks and feel like you did something amazing for our kids and us, their parents and families.
No gift would be sufficient to repay you for this incredible summer you provided for Zev and our family. Please accept this letter and feel proud of yourselves for the gift you’ve given to us and Zev. Please also thank your parents on our behalf for raising you in a way that led you to HASC and entering Zev’s life and ours as his counselors.
We hope you will all stay in touch. Zev would love to see you after camp. He does not wear his emotions on his sleeve nor does he ever express how he is really feeling, but we believe and know that deep down he feels deeply attached to you all. You have all become important people in Zev’s life and we hope you continue to stay in his life—and ours—as best as you can.
Thank you for everything! Yours, Dena Kinderlehrer