One of the key tenets of the Yavneh experience is instilling in our chanichim (campers) an appreciation for chesed (acts of kindness). Throughout their summers at Yavneh, we encourage chanichim to give back to the greater community. There is no shortage of ways that chesed can be done and our chanichim never fail to step up to the plate. Under the thoughtful eye of Yavneh staff, chesed is woven into activities at camp and there are even a few chesed projects that have become masoret (tradition), including the Kerem Chesed project and Ketsev.
It is written in Isaiah 1:17, “Learn to do good, seek justice, relieve the oppressed, bring justice for the orphan, seek defense for the widow.” Young people have always had an ideological streak and this generation is no different. This summer, we decided to double down on these chesed efforts by selecting a theme that reflects the Yavneh commitment to chesed, “ לתקן עולם במלכות ה׳” (LaToken Olam B’Malchot Hashem). The first two words give you a clue as to the connection to chesed – Tikkun Olam (repairing the world). We chant the words “ לתקן עולם במלכות ה׳” every day at camp in the Aleinu prayer – pausing for a moment to reflect on these words will give us the opportunity for our campers to see their prayers take action. This theme encourages chanichim to find a cause they feel strongly about, make a difference in their community, and reinforce the notion that there is no better time than now. We are confident that chanichim will be ready to roll up their sleeves and take action.
Over the coming months preceding camp, Hanhallah will share with you how we will put these words to action. You may have already heard about the camp-wide chesed project to donate locks of hair to Zichron Menachem, an organization in Israel that offers all sorts of social, educational, therapeutic, and medical services – both long term and short term – to families of children who are affected by a cancer diagnosis. In addition, they collect hair from donors around the world to make much-needed wigs for children who have lost their hair during treatment. Check out this video to find out more. And this summer, we will have guests at the machane (camp) who exemplify the notion of tikkun olam. We will learn something different from each of them and yet we will find the similarities that have called the Jewish people to action for centuries. This theme is rich and has so much to offer our chanichim.
If you have any suggestions for ways for us to live this ideal this summer, please don’t hesitate to reach out.