Stand Up CLTC 5
Posted on 07/17/2011 @ 11:28 PM
A Note from Nate Strauss
Posted on 07/17/2011 @ 10:56 PM
Greetings from Impact: D.C.! Nate Strauss here from Farmington Hills, Michigan on the Impact blog. Yesterday was our very first Shabbat as a D.C. Family. The overall process of Shabbat was incredibly interactive and eye opening to me. From our Friday night meditation service and Shabbat friendly song session to our Limmud discussion groups and Havdallah at the Lincoln Memorial, Shabbat was truly awesome. Friday night opened my eyes to the amount of fun one could have on Shabbat. 80 people singing popular Jewish songs was the kickoff to our experience. Right after, we divided into teams for a National Treasure inspired scavenger hunt around a section of the George Washington Campus. Wakeup Saturday morning was a lot later than normal, meaning more sleep for all of us! We were all given the chads to choose a Synagogue from 5 different options. I chose the traditional Conservative temple and loved it. The whole Impact group that was there even got our own Aliyah in the Torah service! It was awesome to have such an honor. Chofesh (break) was extra long, so i checked out the Smithsonian Natural History Museum and the Library of Congress. After that, I took the metro back to GW and prepared for Havdallah. The Lincoln Memorial was the perfect setting for our service. We got to watch the sun set over the Washington Monument and got to explore the memorial. To end the night, we broke up into our Service Site groups for Circle/Reflection time. The Metro Teen Aids team went to the World War II memorial, a perfect way to end the day.
I will never forget the first Shabbat we had as a group. I think it truly brought us all closer and helped us meet everyone that we hadn't quite talked to yet. I am absolutely loving Impact and Shabbat was no exception!
Nate Strauss, Farmington Hills, MI
Kallah Kicks Into Full Gear
Posted on 07/17/2011 @ 07:00 AM
Everything here at Kallah has begun to get into order and routine has begun to emerge. Thursday morning began with a service based on the concept of "What If G-d Was One Of Us?", where participants not only did the traditional morning prayers, but also were able to engage in some religious philosophy. 101 Sessions have begun, and our educators have been hard at work teaching about varying topics of Judaism. Topics of discussion include philosophy, Jewish beliefs on nature and life, and other specialty topics on verses from the Torah. Thursday evening included a life cycle program, where participants went to different stations to represent different stages of their Jewish lives (for example, at one station, a mock Jewish wedding was held). The night then concluded with a song and dance session before bed.
Friday began with 101 session rotations again, followed by the first family group meeting. Within these family sessions, participants meet with their dorms to discuss what they have learned thus far and to express the effects that the experience here has had on them. They then were presented with all of the Chugim (creative arts) options, which vary from 3D art to acapella to video making. After filling out their top choices, they went back to their dorms to begin getting ready for Shabbat services.
Tonight, we will have our first Shabbat service with all of the Kallah participants. Several services will be offered, including traditional services, creative services, and musical services. Participants will get to choose which best suits their taste, or will be able to branch out and try something they may not have ever experienced before.
Arrival and Day One
Posted on 07/15/2011 @ 07:00 AM
Kallah 2011 has officially begun! Participants began arriving yesterday and were welcomed eagerly by staff, coordinators, and fellow participants who had continued their stay at Perlman from ILTC. Everyone was soon reunited with old friends and quickly began meeting new people. The evening began with nightly Mincha, dinner and icebreakers to get to know everyone a little better. After a small snack, everyone returned to their dorms to get acquainted with the people they would be living with.
The first full day kicked off with a breakfast of pancakes and cereal, followed by a Shacharit service. After the service had ended, each dorm was guided through camp by their assigned staff member to get them acquainted with the facilities and where everything would be taking place. They then split up into groups where educators and specialists went around to introduce themselves and to give the teens an idea of their role at camp was.
The afternoon continued with the first meeting of Shabbat planning groups, where the participants are given the opportunity to put their own spin on how Shabbat services and the overall Shabbat experience is run. Next, the teens were again split into different groups for more introductory activities to get acquainted more with fellow participants. The final program of the day was an evening activity centered around pluralism. Each group was given a different denomination of Judaism, either orthodox, conservative or reform. They then were given issues which face Judaism as a whole and had to look at the issue from each denomination to learn about how people of the same religion can view the same topic differently.
Overall, it has been a great first day here at Perlman and we all look forward to an amazing few weeks!
Posted on 07/14/2011 @ 06:09 PM
Children are our Future
When entering my assigned room at the Beit Ginsberg Community Center in Tiberias, I was overcome with a mixture of anticipation and anxiety. I do not speak Hebrew and I was assigned the oldest group of children. How was I supposed to communicate when I could barely ask their names?
We all struggled through icebreakers while the soldier in charge translated for both groups. Next we split up the group to do some arts and crafts, and my panic set in yet again. In a few minutes I realized how futile my worries were. Children are so open - a smile and a nod to demonstrate your understanding are sufficient responses.
I connected with a nine year old named Lihi, and although she did not speak English and I did not speak Hebrew, we managed to understand one another. A simple one word response on my part would prompt paragraphs from this adorable child. She understood everything I wanted to say, but could not verbalize...and I understood her. The idea that across the world a little girl could understand everything about me and all the thoughts I could not express is simply unbelievable. Yet I witnessed this with my own eyes. It truly was an experience that changed me; it renewed my faith in the abilities of humans to be compassionate and connect with each other. In short, it was MAGICAL.
- Mariah Genis