One of the songs printed in the ‘22 Yavneh Shiron is simply called Todah (Thank You). This Uzi Chitman campfire classic is a song of thanksgiving and gratitude, recalling big moments and natural wonders amid the simple joys and everyday celebrations of living.
This past summer, we had the privilege at camp of having Kerem join together for a very special chesed project that directly gave thanks to an organization that provides both small and large-scale services to families in need: The Ronald McDonald House Charities providing housing, meals, and many other services to families who have children in nearby hospitals. Interestingly, there is a Yavneh connection to the Ronald McDonald House in Portland, Maine, and those whose lives were touched by this beautiful place and the people who work and volunteer there, were able to share those vivid memories with our chanichim (campers). Longtime Yavneh staff member Itzik Shalem-Kaminsky spoke to aydat Kerem about the ways in which he and his husband, Matthew, were so lucky to call the Ronald McDonald House home for several weeks four summers ago, when their twins arrived prematurely. The campers were touched and inspired by his words of appreciation.
With creativity and enthusiasm (and a particular camp flair), Kerem campers devised an action plan to send items over to the Portland location to enhance the experience for families in need of a home and some TLC while their children were in hospital. We sent over tie-dyed t-shirts, socks, and pillows. Kerem doodled and made coloring pages for siblings of sick kids. Some dedicated chanichim crocheted mini-stuffies (small animal “friends”) to accompany children to their hospital rooms. And all these gifts were sent with beautiful messages and cards.
תודה על כל מה שבראת Toda al kol ma shebarata
תודה על מה שלי נתת Toda al ma sheli natata
Thanks for all that You’ve created,
Thanks for what You’ve given me.
על צחוק של ילד Al tzchok shel yeled
ושמי התכלת Ushmei hat’chelet
על אדמה ובית חם Al adama, uvayit cham
For a child’s laughter,
And the blue sky,
For the earth, and a warm home.
Truly, the lyrics of this song were wrapped up in the love that was sent along with the gifts for the families in Portland. Kol Hakavod Kerem ‘22… and may their actions inspire us all! May we take this week of Thanks, and look forward to creating more opportunities to think up and carry out gratitude-inspired chesed in the world.