Mensches in the MakingPosted on July 12th, 2019
By Alaina Yoakum, Director of Marketing & Communications
Every day I make it a point to walk around camp, and each time, I see something that makes me stop in my tracks and say “wow.” Our staff are wizards at making magic out of the mundane, turning simple acts into teachable moments, and finding the silly in the serious. Though what’s unique about camp more than other places is how our staff anchor these “wow” moments in our Jewish values – and then give our campers the chance to live, breathe, and practice them. It’s just one way camp makes Judaism relevant, accessible and meaningful to our young campers.
Here’s what I witnessed this week:
Avodah Is Inspiring Change Through Their Service
Our Avodah session, which focuses on the important of service (Avodah means “work”), is showing our entire camp community what Tikkun Olam – bettering our world – means. These campers have worked hard to raise more money toward AIDS research and prevention than any other Avodah session before them! They are currently ranked #5 in the top fundraising teams for the SF AIDS Walk! You can help them reach their goal by donating to their official team page or by Venmo (@AVODAH2019).
Hagigah Is Making Art with a Purpose
These rising 11th grade Hagigah campers made tzedakah boxes, and then researched and selected an organization to fund raise for during the culminating festival that showcased their work to parents and our camp community.
Junior Campers Are Showing Gratitude & Kindness
In an act of loving kindness – modeling the Jewish value of Gimilute Chasadim – our Junior campers this week showed gratitude in multiple, meaningful ways.
Some campers decided to show the Cal Maritime staff – who serve us our meals, and keep our campus beautiful and safe – our appreciation through painted signs that they have posted all over camp for them to see.
While other campers decided to write letters of support and thanks to our medical and office staff.
Our Youngest Campers Are Making Mitzvot
Our Junior campers learned about the meaning of doing a mitzvah (a good deed) and then took to the sidewalks and walls to make messages to brighten everyone’s day. Some were little words of encouragements, such as “make the best of a beautiful day.” But most messages conveyed the idea that camp is a community that embodies the Jewish value of Betzelem Elohim – that all humans are created in a divine image – and that camp accepts and loves you as the unique and perfect individual that you are.
Teaching Tefillin to Keep God in Mind
Brothers and counselors, Josh and Eli Burg, are role modeling the Jewish value of Talmud Torah, the love of learning for learning sake. They decided to teach our interested campers how to “lay tefillin,” which is a morning ritual practiced among many Jews. Derived from V’ahavta, which says, “You shall bind them as a sign upon your hand, and they shall be for a reminder between your eyes,” you wrap leather straps and small boxes that hold scripture around your arm, hand, and between your eyes as a way of keeping the word of God always in mind.