Mitzvah Meetings – and Meanings

by Sara Beth Berman, Nadiv Educator at Camp Coleman

This post originally appeared on My Jewish Learning’s blog, “The Canteen,” which features various Jewish Camp professionals.

Giant boxes of toothpaste and floss lurk under the marker boards in the dining hall.
Huge drums of food overflow in Jewish Studies classrooms at school.
A formidable stack of brightly-colored pieces of artwork perch precariously, threatening to tumble off of my desk.

This isn’t exactly a blog post about meetings.  What kind of blogger writes about meetings?  After all, you don’t get lots of numbers for writing about how “at 1:45PM, every Monday, she meets with her supervisor and talks about the tasks at hand.”

And yet, this is a blog post about meetings.  Last year, when I first met my contact at Atlanta, GA’s JF&CS, I had no idea what to expect.  Let’s review your agency’s good work, I thought, and figure out how to make some mitzvah happen at our machaneh (Hebrew for camp, and also because I love alliteration.).  Sheri was insightful and helpful and inspired URJ Camp Coleman’s Donate Duplicate Dental Supplies for a local dental clinic.  She was good for camp and I continued to appreciate our relationship as I bugged her over the year for suggestions on ways to make mitzvot happen.

This is my job.  I have to figure out how to make mitzvot happen.

This year’s Mitzvah meeting couldn’t come soon enough!  In addition to make sure mitzvot happen each summer at camp, school also is always looking for ways to be more involved and to teach our core value of Tzedek / righteousness.  And so, after a really cool and long meeting about mitzvot for all ages and stages – starting with what the youngest kids do in the Lower School and through the Philanthropy work the Machon CITs do at camp – more cool ideas emerged.

First project?  Making placemats for a Holocaust Survivors’ Chanukah Party.  Taking a few study halls, volunteers joined our the Middle School Jewish Life Leadership representatives in sketching, scrawling, coloring and gluing.  The finished results will be laminated and distributed soon!

Again, it seems kind of boring to talk about meetings.  But these meetings, so filled with purpose, meaning and tzedek, are what yield these incredibly moving and positive results.  Youth, ages 4 and up, are impacted by the Jewish commitment of their school and/or camp – the commitment to values and mitzvot.

We’re not just together to learn and to have fun – although we are really good at fun and great at learning.  We’re together to make a difference.  To create meaning.  And to fill the world with more light and love, as a result of our commitment to mitzvah.  And that is the most inspiring thing, isn’t it?

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