D’var Torah: Bereishit – Tefilah and Making a Difference
When we restart the reading of the Torah, we focus on beginnings. In many ways, during each summer at Ramah, we create anew: we build on our rich traditions while also trying to innovate.
Our summer theme is brachot (blessings). In Bereishit, God gives us a bracha after creating us. This blessing is the first mitzvah, which is to pru urvu (be fruitful and multiply). God also gives us power and responsibility in relation to our natural world.
Taking these ideas to heart, we have been thinking about tefilah (prayer) at camp and how we can teach our chanichim (campers) to actively work to make a difference.
Our tefilah program is strong. We strive to teach literacy, create opportunities for spirituality, and empower chanichim to lead at both of our CRNE campuses. Although there is some variance based on location and age, this coming summer we want to use our beautiful settings to inspire. Small groups of chanichim will move through tefilah stations throughout camp and along new trails in our back country. Sometimes we can combine our goals of tefilah literacy and spirituality and other times we will prioritize one over the other. We aim to strike the right balance daily while also keeping an eye on the end product our chanichim and tzevet (staff) will achieve when they complete our program.
We do a good job teaching our chanichim about social action and service and we provide some opportunities for them to be active in this pursuit. This summer we want to take this focus to the next level by listening to what is important to our chanichim and igniting their passions for causes that they hold dear. We plan to do more both within camp and out in the community to “walk the walk” of our beliefs.
We are busy planning the curriculums and details of these initiatives and will be updating our communities during the off-season months. We hope that God will say, as God said at the completion of creation, that it is “very good.” Shabbat Shalom.