Debi M. Rowe is Jewish educator and visiting faculty member at URJ Camp Newman. During the year, she is director of education and programs at Temple Beth El.
This week I have learned two pieces of Torah – one from our weekly parashah and one from campers at URJ Camp Newman.
In this week’s Torah portion, Korah (a Levite) with the support of 250 community leaders, rebels against Moses’ and Aaron’s leadership. Korah says to Moses and Aaron: “You’ve gone too far. Why do you raise yourself up above us?”
Moses counters: “You have gone too far, sons of Levi. Is it not enough that God has set you apart from the community of Israel by having you perform the duties of God’s Dwelling Place? Will you seek priesthood too? Truly, you rebel against God.”
Moses says that God will make the divine presence known by how God kills these rebels. Then God opens the ground and swallows the people and their possessions. In the end, Aaron and his sons are again given the command to be the priests in charge of all the sacred offerings.
We are taught about leadership, rebellion, anger – both human and Divine, responsibility and ultimately continuity … although the road through these events and emotions is tumultuous at best.
At Camp Newman, I serve as co-faculty for Bonim – a session of entering third and fourth graders. Our theme is “Superheroes.” Our counselors, costumed as familiar characters led by “Mitzvah Mensch” (Captain America) have taught our campers a great deal in three short days.
We’ve explored the concepts of being created in the image of God, including the notion that even though every one of the campers as well as each of the Superheroes is different, we are still each created in God’s image. (AND each of us has our own “super power.”)
Today we explored the idea of “freeing the captive” as campers participated in a scavenger hunt throughout camp to collect enough tokens to free “Simcha Man” who had been kidnapped.
After Shabbat, we will “lift up the fallen.”
It is continually amazing to see our young campers embrace our tradition’s highest values thoughtfully and with delight plus an appropriate dose of age-appropriate silliness.
I am eager to learn from them again during our Shabbat service, when we dive into the story of Korah and his rebellion.
(and… what’s YOUR super power for good?)