A Note of Thanks to my Students

by Shani Abramowitz, Judaic Studies Teacher

Last summer, I arrived in camp as a first-year staff member, not quite sure what to expect and excited about the opportunity that awaited. I came to camp as a Yahadut (Judaics) teacher, and emerged, after eight weeks, a stronger educator, rabbinical student, and friend. This year, I’m back for my second summer, and am excited to share some highlights from my Yahadut classes.

In our Solelim class, we have been exploring our inner superhero. Our class, “Jewish Justice League,” is all about asking ourselves how we can make a difference in the wider world, and even here, at camp. We are exploring the traits that make us special, and discovering the many ways that we are regularly called upon to be brave, to be heroic. We have studied a handful of biblical characters and have had lively, spirited debates about what makes a hero and who can make a difference.

I am also teaching an elective class for Bogrim and Machon, called “Holy Protest.” We have been studying various social movements and have been challenging notions that youth and young adults do not have a voice or a significant role to play in changing the political status-quo. We began our class with an in-depth study of the March for Our Lives Rally, analyzed speeches from rallies across the country, and learned a great deal about gun legislation in America. Along the way, we also studied several biblical and rabbinic texts about non-violent resistance, gun control, the importance for political engagement, and various forms of protest. Our conversations have been complex, stimulating, and above all, enjoyable. Everyday, I am so impressed by the way my chanichim (campers) think about the world, their incredibly beautiful insights, and the hopes they have for our world.

I also teach the text class for Atzmayim. This summer, we are looking at general themes of justice. One of our central questions isWhat is justice, and how do we get it? Over the course of the summer, we will think creatively about various forms of justice and how we can play a role in creating a more just world.

So far, the summer is off to a great start! As I grow further in my role as a Jewish educator, I know that I have my chanichim to thank. I have learned so much from them– from their commitment to critical thinking, their excitement, and the joy that they bring to the classroom. I am so looking forward to the next six weeks!