Monday, July 11, 2011

Camp Camp

What a terrific session it has been so far - half way through Kallah Bet at OSRUI. The kids are great, the staff is fabulous, and of course working with my colleagues and friends on faculty is as enriching as ever.
As we explore the *North American Jewish Experience*, the children have been exposed to a great range of ideas about the emergence and uniqueness of our community here, as well as to the rich and broad spectrum of Jewish life on this continent. Highlights have included: immigrating through Ellis Island and navigating first steps into the "New World"; decision-making as free and equal citizens in a democratic society; and how we articulate our beliefs in a positive and constructive manner (for our session on the platforms of Reform Judaism, we set the stage by conducting our morning t'fila - oops, I mean worship - in a "classic" style, right out of the good ol' Union Prayer Book. Most of the unit had never had such an experience. Thanks especially to my faculty partner, Rabbi Batsheva Apel, who served as a circuit rabbi in the south and has probably led more services out of UPB in the last 5 years than anyone :).
And this morning - our
limmud (study) topic was to cover the Reform tradition of political activism and working for social justice. The program went great - as the staff did a marvelous job in making the situation (a lost opportunity for a pool party) believable as an excuse to protest. While teaching the chanichim (campers) about tikkun olam (repairing the world) and tzedek (justice) - we were able to bring these values directly to our young people - making the conceptual into something they could grasp. The campers wowed us with their ability to relate this (mild) situation to the greater issues that have faced our world and our movement - they offered such parallels as civil rights, genocide, hunger, poverty, and environmental concerns. We should be proud that these young Jews, entering grades 5-7, are truly ready (and able!) to change the world.
Oh how much I'm looking forward to the rest of our time at camp!
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