Fun-Jew-Cation with Josh: Week #1

Education Director Josh Dubell  here. I’m so excited to finally be up at Maple Lake and overseeing our education program. Welcome to my weekly blog series, Fun-Jew-Cation with Josh. Each week I’ll be summarizing the fun and Jewish education programs (or Funjewcations programs) of the week so that you can feel like you were right here with us!

In case you didn’t know, the theme of camp this year is Yad B’Yad – Hand in Hand. The idea is that this theme will encourage our campers and our staff to work together, be together, experience camp together and on a bigger scale change the world together.

Here’s a look at our unit programming this past week.

Nitzotzot: CG 101 is the name of Nitzotzot’s program. This summer the theme of CG 101 is “Passport to Adventure!” Our youngest campers will get a passport and explore the local customs and traditions of CG. Bonding with new friends, finding meaning in prayers and special holidays and looking for answers to the big questions.

-     In the first program, they went on a journey through Camp George, exploring the ideas of home, going to new places and meeting new people. They also received their very own passports! After completing each program, they will get a new stamp in their passports.

-       During the second program, “bless the mess”: campers learned the words and meaning of Birkat Hamazon in creative ways!

-       In the third program, they got to know the Hebrew lingo that we use on camp and are now able to use these words with confidence!

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Lehavot: T.A.G. (Torah, Avodah and Gimilut Chassadim) is the name of Lehavot’s educational program. The theme for the session is Jewish heroes through the ages.

-       In the first program,  they explored the difficult decisions that Abraham had to make throughout his life. They started off by watching a skit about 3000 years of Jewish history in 5 minutes! At the end, they even got to smash piniatas, which represented Abraham smashing the idols. It was awesome!

-       In the second program, Lehavot looked at Moses and the question was, “can heroes be flawed?” Campers participated in leadership games, where campers had the chance to lead a group and understand the challenges and successes that come with being a leader.

Kochavim: Olim is the name of Kochavim’s new program. In addition to the formally scheduled period, Olim moments also happen at different points throughout the day.

-       The first program focused on the relationship between Moses and Pharoh and how that could play out in camp. Other characters also came into play and campers learned about the important of standing up for themselves and what they believe in.

-       The second program was based on Bar Kochba and campers explored the idea of whether the pen is mightier than the sword. Campers had the chance to write on parchment with quills and also participate in some friendly army training.

-       For the third program, campers learned about the idea of protesting and we taught them about the “Free Lulu” campaign. Campers made signs, wrote protest songs and even to Lulu’s family. This is to be continued!

Barak: Project Barak is the program that our Barak campers participate in. Each week they sign up for different educational electives, which are run by our amazing camp faculty.

Here are the 5 Project Barak’s that ran this week:

 #1) Gender and Sexuality with Lisa Goodman

This project explored issues of gender sterotypes and came up with strategies on how to raise awareness about these issues.

#2) Creating A Mizrach with Rabbi Rob Morais

A Mizrach is a sign that points east, towards Jerusalem, so we know which way to face when we pray. Each camper had the opportunity to make his or her own and they look fantastic!

 #3) Art Installation with Rabbi Yael Splansky

Campers repurposed old artwork that had been created at camp but needed a new home. Now the camp has been re-beautified.

 #4) Jewish Sign posting with Rabbi Stephen Weiss

Campers examined the history of signs throughout history and campers began making signs around camp using wood and paint. Can’t wait to see the finished products!

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 #5) Exploring The Makeup Of Ourselves and Camp with Assistant Education Director Michael Weiss

Michael taught campers about the makeup of their bodies and how this relates to the landscape of camp. For example, in addition to discussing how we take care of our bodies, Michael taught campers about we take care of camp by teaching them about camp’s very own water filtration system.

C.I.T.’s: The C.I.T.’s have participated in a number of exciting educational opportunities. The C.I.T.’s did a lovely job welcoming everyone into the Chadar Ochel on Shabbat, singing “Shir Hallelujah.” They also had a session with Jewish comedian Joel Chasnoff, where they discussed Israel and how they can integrate it into their daily lives. The C.I.T.’s also spent time with Michael Weiss, where they had the opportunity to discuss Jewish questions. I am excited to continue to teach and learn wit the C.I.T.’s and see them become involved with their unit placements education programs.

Looking forward to another amazing week ahead!

- Josh

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