Jeff Dreifus, Director of Jewish Life
Last week we learned about the Jewish value of Kehilah (community). We started the week with a lesson on one of the foundational Jewish texts on ethics, Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers). After learning about and discussing some of the ancient wisdom from our rabbis in Pirkei Avot, the campers shared some of the modern wisdom that they have received from their parents, grandparents, coaches, and friends. We were all blown away by what they shared with each other! You can see some of the highlights in the pictures below. Some of our favorite pearls of wisdom from the campers were, “There is no such thing as a normal person, because everyone is different,” “Live life with a smile on your face, because if you don’t, when will you?” and “There is always something to rely on, the Torah!”
By studying texts from both Dr. Seuss and Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotsk, our older campers learned about the importance of staying true to yourself. We then learned from Parshat Vayakhel (from the book of Exodus) – that God required people from all different backgrounds and skillsets for the building of the Tabernacle. Our campers learned that our modern-day communities are also better off when we are accepting and welcoming toward all different types of people.
This summer, we started a new tradition where our campers lead prayer services for their unit on Mondays and Wednesdays, and they also help out during Shabbat services Friday night and Saturday morning. It is so inspiring to see our campers relating to the liturgy in their own ways and leading their fellow campers in prayer reflection. For our first Shabbat service, we had a Classic Rock themed service, led by a cabin of Talmidim boys. On Saturday morning, our service was Disney themed, and led by a Maskilim girls cabin.
I can’t wait to fill y’all in again soon about Jewish life here at HSJ!