By Jesse Steinman and Marnina Goldberg, Shoafim staffand Golda Kaplan, Rosh Shoafim (8th graders)
The Tzedakah Fair is the pinnacle event of the reshaped Shoafim Tzedakah project. This year we refocused the project to help campers bring out their social justice passions and cultivate skills and knowledge so when they go out into the “real world” they know how they can help.
In the beginning of the summer we asked campers to list their interest in issues. From there, we divided them into groups. Over the course of the summer, our campers learned about refugees, education and cancer in detail: the root of the problem, the Jewish connection to the issue, why we should care, and how we can help. We participated in discussion groups, completed small volunteering projects, and listened to guest speakers who had experience in these issues. This was all done so they could continue to grow their interest in these issues, and so when they leave camp they can take the lessons they learned with them. All these activities culminated in the Tzedakah Fair this past week.
The Tzedakah Fair included quite a few booths featuring Tzedakah, social justice, and doing mitzvot. Each group had a booth run by campers with educational pamphlets, a small volunteering station, and information on the issue. There were also games like a dunk tank, a sponge throw, a football throw, a pop-a-balloon game, etc. that revolved around these issues. For example, at the football throw you first learned about an NFL player and a charity that he supports. For the dunk tank and sponge throw, you had to answer questions about the issue that you learned about at the educational booths. This led to an exciting atmosphere filled with fun and games and intellectual learning.
All in all, the Tzedakah Fair was an amazing representation of what the Shoafim Tzedakah Project accomplished this year. Our Shoafimers became well-versed in their issues of interest and brought their passions and knowledge to the rest of camp in a fun and exciting fair. We can only hope that as the years progress, the campers will feel a special connection to the issues they learned about, and will go on to do great things by helping people who are affected by these issues.