Aurianne and Adam Dorsay consider the APJCC Family Camp weekend in the Redwoods to be the “sweet spot” of what they want for their family – “a confluence of family, community, Jewish values, fun, a chance to meet new friends, as well as the warm family and Jewish memories that come out of it.” APJCC Family Camp is a fun-filled family getaway weekend where kids bond with other children during many well-planned activities such as swimming, hiking, sports and a ropes course, parents get to know each other while preparing meals together, and everyone jointly celebrates Shabbat.
Aurianne and Adam were both born and raised in the South Bay. Their families belonged to Cong. Beth David, where Aurianne and Adam met in 3rd grade Hebrew class. They both went on to earn their doctoral degrees and open private practices as clinical psychologists. Along the way, they each wanted to immerse themselves in different cultures for different reasons. Aurianne went to India for six months to explore eastern spirituality. Adam spent three years in Japan, in part, wanting to establish his conviction as a Jew by learning more about the world.
Shortly after they got married, Aurianne and Adam decided to welcome every Shabbat with the traditional rituals. “We wanted to bring more Judaism into our lives,” Adam relates. “Since the industrial revolution and the dissolution of farm living that had previously unified families in their stake on the farm, family members today are often foreigners living in the same house. Being Jewish is a common denominator for Aurianne and me, and living Jewishly helps to bring out the best in ourselves.”
Interestingly, when their older son, Avin, was ready to enter school, sending him to Yavneh Jewish Day School was not what they were seriously contemplating. “We have a free, magnet school right around the corner from where we live,” Adam says, “but despite the potential expense and schlep of sending Avin to Yavneh, as a matter of due diligence, we decided to at least visit the school. And, by chance, we showed up during tefillot. When we felt the ruach (spirit) of the school and heard the kids speaking so eloquently, we were overwhelmed and decided this is where Avin would go to school.”
One thing led to another. Bringing Avin to Yavneh every day brought Aurianne and Adam to the Levy Family Campus every day, too. They became exposed to Jewish Federation and APJCC activities and events, such as musical events and holiday celebrations, and the APJCC Family Camp.
“Our identities are being constantly bombarded by all the different aspects of our lives,” Adam concludes. “But, the JCC is a Jewish identity growth center — a living and continuous “J Camp,” — where just showing up increases your sense of being Jewish.”