By the Grace of G‑d
15th of Menachem Av, 5725
[August 13, 1965]
Brooklyn, N.Y.

To All Participants in the Dedication Exercises at Camp Gan Israel, Linden, Michigan

Greeting and Blessing:

This is to convey my prayerful wishes to all of you, and particularly to the families of the distinguished friends of the camp who will be honored on this occasion. The memorial to the late Zeev Hordes, as well as the other distinguished Jews whose memory will be honored, will surely provide visible symbols for their families and friends, to inspire and stimulate them to ever greater accomplishments.

I have chosen the 15th of Av as the date of this letter because of its special significance, and also because of its proximity to the day of these dedication exercises.

Our Sages tell us that the 15th day of Av was a very joyous festival in olden days, especially for the younger generation, with particular emphasis on the religious ideals and values of our Jewish way of life.

Coming so soon after Tishah b’Av, the radical transition from a mood of sadness to that of joy is doubly significant. Firstly, it signifies that any sad interlude in Jewish life is only transitory, and is based on the principle of “descent for the purpose of ascent.” In other words, any and all sad events in our history which are commemorated on the few sad days on our calendar are backward steps which are necessary for a greater forward leap.

Secondly, that the very transition from sadness to gladness intensifies the joy, and adds real quality to it, which could not be appreciated otherwise.

The message of these days is best applied in the efforts in behalf of our Jewish youth. All too often we hear about the “lost generation,” or our “lost youth.” It is therefore most gratifying to see your efforts to provide true guidance, direction and inspiration to the younger generation in your community and environs. Your efforts have, with G‑d’s help, been fruitful in the past; I hope and pray they will continue in a growing measure, and consequently will enjoy a growing measure of success in the future.