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Kallah Goes Grassroots with Limmud Day

Posted on 07/23/2012 @ 01:00 PM

Tags: Kallah2011

Last weekend more than twenty Jewish professionals from organizations all over the United States came to Camp Perlman to teach for free. BBYO organized a Limmud day, and it was a huge success.

Kallah campers learned about Jewish Humanism, consent and sex ed, philosophy, online resources, AEPi, interfaith families, and much more. Over sixty different sessions were held, and the teens took full advantage of all of the opportunities to learn.

Emmie Herbstman was excited to learn from different perspectives. Afterward she explained, "I thought it was a great experience to be taught by educators who aren't here all the time."

The educators themselves made sure their discussions were on topics that would grab the teens' attention while maintaining the depth that would engage them in meaningful intellectual inquiry.

Unsurprisingly, Mimi Lowe Arbeit's session on "Can Hookups be Holy" was a huge hit, as many teens were interested in learning how a sex educator could connect relationships to Jewish values. Mimi led a great discussion that touched upon the importance of communication and consent when navigating interpersonal relationships; her previous experiences as a professional sex educator helped her really get through to the teens even when talking about awkward subjects.

Each educator led multiple sessions. For example, David Levy, of JewishBoston.com, led a session on Jewish Ethics for Online Living on Friday morning and a different session on how to use online tools when running your chapter in the afternoon.

The educators also ran electives on Saturday and made themselves available to Kallah participants during Saturday afternoon in case any of the teens wanted to follow up on the subjects that were raised during the sessions.

Some of the sessions touched upon ideas that aren't usually taught until college or graduate school, such as the gender theory that Joanna Ware of Keshet discussed in her "How to Be an Ally to LGBTQ People" session, or the examination of Emanuel Levinas that Suzie Schwartz brought up in her session on radical Jewish ethics.

Kami Salman was really taken by the entire concept of a Limmud day. She later said, "I thought it was fascinating that [Limmud] started in the UK. It was a great experience to have all those people come to help educate us."

Alana Kessler even tried her hand at leading a session during Saturday's shabbat electives time. She led a very well attended discussion on being a chapter president, and she was completely thrilled with how it turned out. When asked about her feelings about Limmud, Alana raved, "Teaching was the coolest experience I had at Kallah! It was awesome to share my opinions and give advice to friends here."

Hopefully Alana and other campers will continue their learning and Limmud participation in the future--they certainly built a good foundation at Kallah.

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