My Other Family

by Sarah (Rubin) Sokolic (Gesher '88)


“What do you mean we’re not going to Berkshires for Labor Day?” my oldest son, Isaiah, whined at me, his baby blues welling with tears when I announced that we might not be able to go. 

It was Spring of 2010 and I had just gotten the mail and opened an invitation to our family reunion which was to take place on the same weekend.

“We have a family reunion that weekend,” I explained.  “All of our aunts and uncles and cousins will be there.  It’s going to be in South Carolina.  It will be fun.” 

“No, it won’t”, pouted Coby, my younger son, taking advantage of the opportunity to side with his older brother and gang up on Mom.

I tried and tried.  Yet no matter how I couched it, the weight of the disappointment could be felt in the air.  We were not going to be at Labor Day weekend and that was it.  I guess the kids didn’t buy into my overexcitement about the family reunion since I, too, was terribly let down myself.  I guess they could hear it in my voice.  See, I, together with my then boyfriend and now husband, Jeremy (’86), have been attending Labor Day Weekends since the early 90’s.  I was on the planning committee for about 10 years.  I lived for those weekends – as a 20-something single, playing 3-on-3 basketball for countless hours on Shabbat morning; as a young married, leisurely soaking in the rays at the Agam; and now as a mom of three, waking up (not by choice) to the sunrise and crisp mountain air and spending long days chasing my kids around to the various activities. 

Which brings me to the P.S. of the story.  In July of 2010, I gave birth to my third child, a girl – Arianna.  In reality there was no possible way I could manage travelling on a plane to schlep to some yeckvelt hotel in South Carolina in the dead heat of the summer with a newborn and two small children.  No way.  So in the end, we didn’t go to the family reunion.  We did go to camp.  It was another fabulous weekend, and everyone was happy.

Upon reflection of this story now it occurs to me how happy this interaction makes me.  My kids were disappointed that they were not going to be at Ramah.  They’re not even Berkshires campers yet (although very happy campers at Nyack), and they still know the joy of what it means to be in Camp.  They know that they belong there.  That Ramah is family.  Today I’m an active alumna and member of the Ramah Executive Committee so this fills me with boundless joy.  I’ve already instilled in my kids the meaning of Ramah in our lives.  They have already lived it and crave it like Jeremy and I do.

My life has changed quite a bit since my careless yet rich days as a camper, sports staff member and machon counselor.  Life is busy.  There is no doubt about it.  By day I’m the Director of Admissions at Solomon Schechter Day School of Bergen County and the Founder of a new Jewish Arts Education program for Jewish Day Schools called, Arts By Day.  I’m a Board and Company member of Storahtelling, another Jewish arts organization, and a mom of three.  I’m busy and happy and the wildest thing I do in life now is play “cups” at the party in B-25 every Labor Day weekend.  I don’t see my friends as much as I’d like.  I don’t see my family that much either.  But I know that at the end of every summer I will have the opportunity for a family reunion of a very special kind.  I know it and, most importantly, my kids know it.  The feeling is priceless.

Sarah Sokolic (’88) and her husband, Jeremy (’86) live in Manhattan with their three children, Isaiah (7), Coby (5) and Arianna (10 months).  Sarah is an actor and arts educator.  She founded the Ramah Baby Association in 2003.  Jeremy works in marketing.  He founded the Ramah Basketball Association in 1996 and was its first Commissioner.  They fell in love in Camp during the summer of 1992 and were one of the first plaques to grace Camp’s Shiddach wall.