Solelim United Nations Peulat Shabbat
Every Shabbat, Solelim has a theme related to the Parasha (weekly portion) that ties together our Shabbat programming. The first shabbat of second session, our theme was V’achalta V’savata (and you shall eat and be satisfied) which tied the Parasha (Eikev) to the Birkat Hamazon (grace after meals) and to the experience of bounty and scarcity that we think about on the holiday of Sukkot, which we were celebrating that week. The second Shabbat of the session our theme was Kehillah Kedosha (holy community), which tied to the parasha (Re’eh)’s explanation that there is a blessing and a curse before us, that our behavior can create community and blessing or can disrupt them.
This past Shabbat, our theme was Tzedek Tzedek Tirdof (Justice, Justice Shall You Pursue). On Friday afternoon, when we gathered for our Hachanah L’shabbat (preparation/meditation before shabbat) circle, I told the story of King Solomon and the two mothers. Solomon offers to share the remaining living baby equally by cutting him in two, and the true mother relinquishes the rights to the baby so that Solomon would not kill him, at which point Solomon the Wise realizes that she is the true mother and gives her the baby. I introduced the idea that was is fair is not always equal, and challenged the edah to be thinking about that concept over Shabbat.
On Shabbat afternoon, for our Peulat Shabbat, we gathered in the amphitheater and split into 14 or 15 different “Nations”– the UN of Solelim. The different countries had funny camp related names, such as “West Migrashia” and “South Agamia” and “The People’s Republic of the Gan”– all using places in camp. We had 4-5 “delegates” from each nation, including a madrich in each delegation. Our first task was to decide as a delegation on a country slogan and on some values to stand for as a nation. After that, we were given a situation: how to divide 5 extra shabbat brownies among 13 campers and 5 madrichim, and we had to decide as a delegation on a proposal to present to the United Solelim Nations. Each of the 14 countries came up with different ways to be fair, and after each group presented their proposal, we voted– each delegation got one vote. After we decided on the scenario, we discussed the importance of being fair– why is justice something that we care about? The Solelimers really got into the discussion and the proposals, and it was really fun to listen to the kids come up with different solutions. As a Peulat Shabbat, it was one of the best I’ve ever experienced!
I’m really looking forward to this coming Shabbat’s theme of Zachor/Memory, letting the kids reflect on their summer, and discussing how our stories/memories help make us who we are.