In lieu of this week’s Unit Updates, we are sharing an update from Maccabiah, an all-camp event. Maccabiah challenges our campers and staff to participate in friendly competition, push themselves to attempt new challenges, and cheer on their friends on their team and others.
This year’s theme for Maccabiah connected the story of Inside Out to the Eisner mission statement. Each team represented a different emotion from the movie. Furthermore, each team was given a line of the mission statement, a Hebrew word, and a midrash (or story) to dive deeper into understanding their line and word.
In Jewish tradition, we use stories to explain our teachings. Here at camp, we use the mission statement to explain how we live our lives. These words of our mission statement come together to teach that we are not required to complete the work, nor are we free to ignore it (Pirke Avot 2:16). During Maccabiah, the symbols of Har, Ner Tamid, Nahar and Yad further guided us in our actions. The idea of Har (mountain) encourages building of self-esteem for ourselves and others. Ner Tamid (eternal light) reminds us of our Jewish identity and our ability to strengthen it during our time at camp. Just as a Nahar (river) connects places, so are we able to build our connections to the camp community. In order to do all of this, we must each take a Yad (hand) and work together to create our holy community. Each of these words has a story that enables us to better understand their meaning and to provide us with teachings that enrich our lives.
The story of The Littlest Mountain and God’s decision to give Israelites the Torah at Mount Sinai emphasized lifting up the self-esteem of everyone in the camp community with the symbol of a Har (mountain). To represent strengthening our Jewish identities, a story of a rich man and a poor man sharing bread together was used. This story also showed the Ner Tamid (eternal light) shining through every individual. A story about two towns connecting to each other via a Nahar (river) expressed the power of connection in the mission statement. Finally, the use of our Yadayim (hands) to support doing as much as we can, in the time that we have, in the place that we are, was seen through a story of individuals helping to feed each other in heaven.
All the words and stories were strong on their own, but are stronger together. As was revealed on the final night of Maccabiah when all the Inside Out characters came together, the words Har, Ner Tamid, Nahar and Yad come together to spell Hineini, the word at the core of the mission statement.