One of the great composers in contemporary Jewish music is Abie Rotenberg, who is renowned for his emotionally stirring songs. Some of his most moving songs were composed for the “A Time for Music – HASC Concerts.”

“Rebbi, why do we have to learn this?”

Last week, my ninth grade b’kius shiur at Heichal HaTorah completed learning Maseches Tamid and Midos. Tamid is the shortest masechta in Shas, with only six dapim (folios) and includes a couple of dapim that contain only mishnayos. However, there is a modicum of challenge in its study in that Tamid and Midos detail the structure of the Second Beis HaMikdash, destroyed in the year 70 CE.

Every summer when our family heads up to camp, every time I get in my car during the first few weeks of the camp season, my smartphone tells me that it’s an hour and 33 minutes to get home. No one told my phone that we moved to Camp Dora Golding in the Pocono Mountains for the summer, and it still thinks 3 Landau Lane in Spring Valley, New York, is our home. Only after a few weeks does it register our address change.

It is no exaggeration to say that my summers and camp experiences have had a tremendous impact on who I am. Some of my foremost rebbeim I only know from my summer camps. During a confusing time during late adolescence, when I was trying to find the right yeshivah for myself, my camp friendships were a source of great encouragement for me. But above all, being a counselor taught me a great deal about responsibility. Having to deal with the vagaries and annoyances of a dozen kids helps give a teenager perspective and appreciation for the challenges of parenthood.

This essay is not addressed to the valedictorian, salutatorian, or graduate who received recognition at graduation. It’s geared towards the graduate who spent his/her years in school struggling, often feeling frustrated and not good enough in class. It is to the graduate who often felt he didn’t stand out and was never the source of his teacher’s pride.

In the month of June, the word “commencement” seems to pop up a lot, because graduations are known as commencement exercises. I had a colleague who would say that the only exercise he gets all year is when he attends commencement exercises in June.