Introducing Shoafim Stories: Inspired by the weekly Torah portion

Introducing Shoafim Stories!

One of the primary aspects of last summer’s Shoafim experience was their Ramah Take-Home project.  Ramah Take-Home is a way to extend the Ramah Jewish experience throughout the year, by engaging campers and their families in on-going Jewish learning and activities. 

Last summer, Shoafim spent a significant amount of time learning how to write and deliver a D’var Torah (a teaching about the Torah portion), by developing questions related to the weekly Torah portion.  As part of this activity, campers worked in small groups to create a series of “camp stories,” which are reflective of the core themes and values of various Torah portions throughout the year.  Additionally, they developed discussion questions, which help place each story and its lessons, within the context of the weekly Torah portion. 

Every few weeks we will be posting one of the stories, which they composed, along with a summary of the corresponding Torah portion, and the discussion questions they developed.  We hope that you will take the opportunity to read these stories and questions with your family and utilize them as way to explore the Torah portions from which they are drawn.  We would also love to hear your family’s response to the discussion questions, and encourage you to post them in the comments section of each story’s blog post.      

Best regards,

Benjamin Greene

Director of Education and Year Round Initiatives


Shoafim Story: The Case of the Stolen Snack

Inspired by Parshat Vayishlah (Genesis 32:3-36:43)

In this Torah portion, God tells Jacob to return home. Jacob is worried that his brother Esau will kill him, so he separates his clan into two camps, so at least some will survive in case of a fight. Jacob sleeps alone in the desert and is awoken by an angel who wrestles him through the night. Jacob survives and is blessed by the angel and renamed Israel. Jacob meets his brother, and surprisingly, Esau kisses his neck and they embrace. 

-Summary from  For a more in-depth summary of the Torah portion, please click here.  


The Case of the Stolen Snack

 Sarah and Amy are hanging out in their bunk during the last week of camp.  

Sarah: I can’t believe that camp is over in two days. I’m going to miss you so much! I want to spend as much time with you as I can before we leave. Are you getting hungry?

Amy: Yeah! Let’s go eat our snack together.

Sarah: One second, I left it on my bed…Hey, where are my chips? 

            Sarah looks for her chips and notices that there are two bags of chips on Amy’s bed.

 Sarah: Wait, why do you have two bags of chips?

Amy: Um…I saved them from last time.

Sarah: That cannot be true. I ate them with you last week. Why do I not have any chips…did you take my chips out of my area!?

Amy: Well, they were actually on the floor in my area and I knew that you would give them to me. After all, you hate barbeque chips. So I took them. Why do you sound so mad? It’s not a big deal.

Sarah: You cannot always assume that I am going to give you my things. A real friend would ask before taking something that does not belong to them. I don’t want to be your friend if you assume things.

            Sarah takes the chips and walks away angrily.  A few days later, Sarah and Amy leave camp to go home, still upset with each other about the chips.    


            The School year passes by quickly, and now it is just a few days before camp starts again.  Sarah is at home getting ready for camp with her parents.

Sarah: Oh my gosh, I can’t wait to go to camp but I don’t want to see Amy because we had a fight the last week of camp last summer. What if she is in my chug? She could even be in my bunk.  I’m really worried.

Sarah’s Dad: Don’t make assumptions, it has been a year. People can change. You’ve even changed from last summer. You don’t need to be so worried.

Sarah: Well it was a very big fight and we never solved it. I got really mad at her last summer. We haven’t even spoken since.

 Sarah’s Mom: Well you should give him/her another chance. I’ve been in this situation before. If you give him/her another chance then it will probably work out.

Sarah: I guess I might as well give it a shot. Thanks mom and dad! I’ll try my best.

            The same day at Amy’s house, Amy is also getting ready for camp with her parents…

Amy:  Sarah was really angry with me and I feel bad for stealing the chips. I want to be friends with her but I don’t think it’ll work out. I just want to apologize.

Amy’s Dad: I know you will make the right decision honey, so trust your instincts and I hope it’ll all work out.

Amy’s Mom: Try to be friendly and everything will go up from there.


            Both Sarah and Amy arrive at camp, and find themselves together in the same bunk…

Amy:  Hi, what’s up? (Shyly)

Sarah: Nothing much, how are you?

Amy: I really want to apologize about what happened last summer. I’m very sorry. I want you to know I’ve changed a lot. I hope we can go back to being friend.

Sarah: It’s okay. I am happy we’re back together at camp again and that everything worked out.

            Sarah and Amy hug, and remain close friends throughout the entire summer. 


Discussion Questions

1.  How were the assumptions of the friends different from reality?

2.  Why is it important not to assume something of other people?

3.  In Parashat Vayishlach, Jacob and Esav reunite after a period of time apart. They make assumptions of each other and of how the reunion will be. How is the reunion of Jacob and Esau different than the reunion of the two friends?

4.  How do you regain the trust of a friend after an argument?

We encourage you to post your family’s answers in the comments section of this blog post.  

Categories: Take Ramah Home