This morning, more than 25 rabbis, cantors, and Jewish educators made their way to camp for a day of thought-provoking discussion and activity that we here at Eisner call, “Yom Limud” (Learning Day). These faculty-members-to-be aimed to inform our staff – both Jewish and non-Jewish – of the benefits that personifying various Jewish values brings to our camp community.
Our staff members rotated through learning stations whose focuses ranged from basic Jewish principles to biblical Hebrew translations to hot-button Israeli political issues. Each and every station offered enlightening information for our diverse staff to consider.
Adventure staff member Talia Jaffe commented on the importance of exposing our entire staff to Jewish values, “Yom Limud is important because in order to work with Jewish campers in a Jewish place, you have to have a basic understanding of who we are as a people.”
Waterfront staff member Michaela Schwartz expressed her excitement to embrace Jewish-themed discussions with her fellow staff members: “Yom Limud is one of the only opportunities I get to talk to Jewish people and non-Jewish people about topics relating to Judaism where everyone’s opinions and experiences are different from mine. During the school year almost all of my Jewish experiences and conversations are with people who have the same opinions as I do… It’s a cool opportunity to learn and discuss Jewish principles with people who have drastically different experiences with Judaism from the ones that I have.”
After leading a spirited group conversation among ten staff members, Rabbi Matt Cutler spoke to me about the importance of continuously conveying Jewish values to every aspect of camp – not just t’fillah and Limud: “Yom Limud helps orient the staff with the fact that they’re teaching Jewish kids to be Jews, the same way that the soccer instructors are teaching soccer and the waterfront staff are teaching kids how to swim. We’ve gotta teach kids to live Judaism. That’s why Yom Limud says ‘live it!’ constantly.”
Yom Limud presented a unique educational experience that allowed our faculty to meet and form working relationships with our staff, who – thanks to the day of learning – will surely personify Jewish principles this summer.