Whistle While You Work by Abby Kerbel, Jewish Learning Specialist, DC Day Camp
What if I told you Snow White knew the Tanach (Bible)? The sentiment of “Whistle While You Work” can be found in Psalm 100, which was taught at camp in Yahadut (Jewish Learning) during Week 1. “עִבְדוּ אֶת-ה׳ בְּשִׂמְחָה בֹּאוּ לְפָנָיו בִּרְנָנָה” (Serve God with happiness, come before God with joy). It certainly takes effort to participate in Jewish life. There are commandments to follow, prayers to say, and ways to act and behave. At times it can seem overwhelming. And yet, when Judaism is approached with joy, every little moment can become a fun celebration.
The joy in “doing Jewish” is everywhere here at the DC Day Camp. The simple act of eating turns into a song session with the addition of brachot (blessings) before and after. Stopping our mornings to express gratitude during tefillah (prayer) can become a dance party. Just this week while exploring Jewish lifecycle events during Yahadut, after learning about tallit (prayer shawl) and tefillin (phylacteries), campers were excited to try them on, jumping out of their seats with excitement.
When Snow White is faced with the daunting task of cleaning up after the Seven Dwarves, she chooses to approach her work with a song and furry woodland friends, turning work into play and effort into fun. Approaching Judaism with joy is a choice we get to make every day. With a song on our lips and a community of friends, the “work” of serving God doesn’t feel like work at all – it’s a joy.