by Shosh Dollinger, Education Director ’24
HUC-JIR Rabbinic-Education Student

We all know how special Friday night is at Camp Newman. From Tfillah to Shira to Shabbat brownies, Friday night brings campers Jewish joy they will never forget. But Shabbat isn’t just about brownies and Golden Boy. 

Saturdays at camp are full of joyful Jewish experiences too. This summer, campers are switching back and forth between t’floptions (tefillah options) and a Shabbat Shacharit service with a celebratory Torah reading.

This Shabbat, our faculty and unit heads will lead a wonderful mix of t’floptions that will have our campers engaged in the magic of prayer and Torah study. In one option junior campers will learn about blessings and make Taylor Swift style bracelets with words to represent the blessings in their lives. Another group will do “sacred doodling” and created artistic representations of prayers using only pen and paper. Another group of campers hiked up to the star for Tefillah at the top of the mountain. In “Broadway Tefillah,” junior campers listened to a Broadway song and then guessed which prayer it corresponds to.

Teen camp has equally as engaging options for their Shabbat morning. In “Sidewalk Chalk Tefillah” teen campers map out the morning service across the Kikar with sidewalk chalk, drawing pictures and words that represent each prayer in our service. Another group will carve their own priestly blessings from clay. In “Meditation Tefillah,” campers will enjoy the sounds of nature with guided questions for self-reflections.

Saturday T’floptions give campers the chance to engage with our liturgy and text in meaningful ways. Here at Camp Newman we aim to give campers as many access points to living Jewishly as we can. Whether it’s through art or hiking or broadway, we love watching campers discover the joy of being Jewish.

Next Saturday, instead of T’floptions, campers will get the opportunity to take part in a short morning t’fillah followed by a Torah service. At each Torah service on Saturday, three campers or staff members will chant from the Torah. For many of our junior campers it will be the last full day of camp so we will use it as a chance to celebrate all they have learned throughout their time on Porter Creek. We can’t wait to see our campers step up and share their Torah.