By Cantor Ross Wolman, Congregation B’nai Jehoshua Beth Elohim , Deerfield, IL, Segel Kallah Bet
For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated with superheroes. Powers, costumes, one-liners, I love it all. What the teacher in me loves most, is the moment in a superhero story when they deal with the hero’s responsibility and struggle with self control. To paraphrase Peter Parker’s (Spiderman’s) Uncle Ben, “Just because you can beat someone up, it doesn’t mean you have the right to. With great power comes great responsibility.”
During the two weeks of Kallah Bet, campers studied Heroes. Not Jewish heroes such as Theodor Herzl or Queen Esther, and not Jewish superheroes such as Kal-El (Superman, whose Kryptonian name intended to be Hebrew for “voice of God”). We focused on Mitzvah heroes. Our own madrich-in-cape Mitzvah Man crash landed on our planet looking for heroes. Through our limudim, our chanichim showed Mitzvah Man that being a hero on planet earth is as easy as being friendly to your peers, having the bravery to be honest, help those in need with an open heart, refrain from gossip, and having trust in your friends. By the end of our two weeks together, Mitzvah Man was amazed to find so many heroes in our midst.
Wednesday of our second week together was Yom Superhero (superhero day) and the Kallah chanichim were invited to dress up as their favorite superhero. The eidah spent an hour getting into costume and the results were great. There were quite a few comic-book heroes as well as many creative heroes such as Grilled Cheese Girl and Talking Stick Boy. There were also mitzvah heroes who reflected the values we learned in our limmudim. By day, she is a Kallah camper at OSRUI but at night she becomes Mitzvah Madame. We met World Peace, a hero whose mission was to help everyone in the world get along an be friends, beginning with Israel. There were the plaid girls, who traveled around teaching Torah to everyone they met. No-Gossip-Guy, who had a super ability to stop lashon hara (evil tongue) and get kids talking about good stuff.
I was deeply proud of these children and their commitment to Jewish values using wonder and imagination to pass the lessons on. It has been an inspirational two weeks of fun, learning, kindness, and friendship.