Amitzim’s Alternative Tefilot!
This summer in Amitzim we have been working hard to learn the meaning of the tefilot or prayers we say here at camp. In yahadut each morning we do projects, listen to stories, play games and more in order to really grasp the meaning of our morning services. We hope that by the end of the summer we will also understand the birkat hamazon (the prayer we say after we eat) and havdallah (service that concludes Shabbat). While the chanichim or campers have been working on these projects they have also started to compile their own siddurim or prayer books. Each day in their yahadut lesson they add a page to their binders so that they will have something beautiful to take home at the end of the summer. Just this morning they were learning about the words that are inside the mezuzah on a door post of a Jewish home and they decorated and rolled their own small mezuzot to slip into their personal siddurim.
We have also begun an "alternative" tefilah program. The counselors have been thinking of ways to enhance our services each day by adding a special story, a new tune or inviting a guest from around camp to join us and teach us something about the service.
This past week we did a tefilah "photo scavenger hunt" and visited many places in camp where we experience prayer. For example some groups visited the infirmary to learn about praying for the sick. They visited the agam or lake and found sunlight shining through trees to represent "or chadash," literally "new light." Here is a picture of one group out and about appreciating the beautiful nature of camp!
This week we have been learning about the ashrei prayer we say each day. Since this prayer is written as an acrostic of the Hebrew alphabet, we have started learning Hebrew sign language to go along with each line we say. By the end of the week we hope to know all the sings for the entire Hebrew alphabet. Amitzim is very enthusiastic about all of these programs and we can't wait to continue learning together this summer!