“This I Believe”: Our Campers’ Firmly Held Beliefs by Tami Arnowitz

One of our limud (learning) sessions is exploring the theme of “Believe,” using the framework of the radio program This I Believe. This I Believe was originally a five-minute program hosted by journalist Edward R. Murrow from 1951 to 1955. The show asked people to write short essays  about their most fundamental and closely held beliefs. Murrow said the program sought “to point to the common meeting grounds of beliefs, which is the essence of brotherhood and the floor of our civilization.”

The program was revived by NPR in 2005 when the producers felt that this same goal would be helpful. Producer Jay Allison said, “We are not listening well, not understanding each other — we are simply disagreeing, or worse…” and executive producer Dan Gediman said, “The goal is not to persuade Americans to agree on the same beliefs. Rather, the hope is to encourage people to begin the much more difficult task of developing respect for beliefs different from their own.”

Our hanichim (campers) are exploring how to share your own beliefs and why it’s important to interact respectfully with people when you don’t agree with them. (Remember  ואהבת לרעך כמוך – you shall love your fellow as yourself!) As part of this process, the hanichim wrote their own “This I Believe” statements. Here are some inspiring examples from a range of edot (units):

  • I believe in treating everyone the same
  • I believe in being prepared. Being prepared makes me feel more confident when walking into certain situations. It also feels like it makes me a role model in which being prepared can encourage people to follow my example.
  • I believe if you stay calm, life can only get better.
  • I believe in dirt because most plant life grows from dirt and even though people see dirt as gross and dirty, it’s just potential for the growth of life.
  • I believe in friendships.
  • I believe in puppies because you have to take care of them and that helps you learn responsibility.
  • I believe in my legs because they are able to take me places and let me do the activities I enjoy.
  • I believe that all people have the right to speak.
  • I believe that everyone has kindness in them and goodness.
  • I believe in second chances because people can change and they also make mistakes.
  • I believe in voting. Voting allows every voice to be heard. We are all humans with different perspectives for different reasons. Allowing them to be heard helps us understand and compromise with each other.
  • I believe in winning. To win you have to work hard, improve, become your best and work as a team.
  • I believe in humans. Humans have the capacity to do good and change the world.

Categories: Limud