To kick off Magshimim's Take Home Ramah project on social justice, tikkun olam, and community service, tonight's peulat erev (evening program) was Oxfam's Hunger Banquet. In short, our edah was divided into three groups according to accurate percentages representing the world's hungry population. Over half the edah (approximately 40 campers) was in the poorest group, given very little food to share amoung many people. Seven people were placed in the privilaged group and given more food than they could possibly eat. The rest of the edah was in the middle group, given an adequate amount of food – but not nearly the variety or abundance of the privilaged group.
While some kids caught on to the point of the program almost immediately, many in the poorest group felt frustrated at the lack of food they had to eat. [As a side note, this program took place after dinner, so no one was actually hungry, just jealous.] After processing the program in small groups, we gathered as a large group while the thunder and lightening raged outside. While we couldn't have planned for the storm, it truly couldn't have worked out better. A conversation quickly ensued about how privilaged we all are to have had safe shelter from the storm. This led to a nice conversation about tikkun olam, tzedakah, and our Take Home Ramah project. Campers and counselors shared many stories about times they have done community service and their reactions to it.
Our goal for the summer is to continue learning about different social justice opportunities, and then to actually make a tangible difference by volunteering in our community. Throughout the year we will create an online community and a Magshimim blog to continue sharing our thoughts and experiences with tikkun olam. One way you, as family members, can help is to ask your campers about this program Another way is to encourage your campers to arrange opportunities for community service once they are home. Making those tikkun olam opportunities family events will really show our community that this is a value that we think is important.