Paddle boating and Judaism
Summers in D.C. are notoriously hot, and this summer does not appear to be an exception. This past Sunday, in an effort to derive some pleasure from the heat, Machon Kaplan participants went paddle boating near the National Mall. It was a fantastic trip, providing up-close views of the Jefferson Memorial and a chance to learn more about other people in Machon Kaplan while doing a fun activity.
My roommate, Chelsea, and I took care of the paddling, while our Machon Kaplan coordinator, Manda, enjoyed the views and discussed the creation of Jewish community with us. As Machon Kaplan brings together 20 college students from around the country with diverse Jewish experiences, interests and practices, and then gives us an opportunity to create a Jewish community together for the summer, this conversation was particularly relevant. Manda is currently in rabbinical school, and she dispensed advice on opportunities for personal growth, along with possibilities for future professional involvement in Jewish community.
A lively discussion ensued on how to best utilize the skills we are learning and the connections we are creating here in D.C. in Machon Kaplan and the wider Jewish community. We are committed to working together to create an intentional and inclusive Jewish community, inspired by Jewish values with a mandate to pursue equality and work for justice—while paddle boating.
Abigail Carpenter-Winch is a participant in the Machon Kaplan Summer Social Action Internship Program. She is interning at Pride at Work, a constituency group of the AFL-CIO that works to mobilize mutual support between organized labor and the LGBT community.