Hi everyone! My name is Amanda Kaplan (K’15 and Rosh Leviim 2020), and I am a senior at the University of Michigan studying Public Policy with a minor in Business Administration. I am also the Student Body President, representing all 47,000+ undergraduate, graduate and professional students on the Ann Arbor campus.
With the unfortunate close of camp this summer, I was working hard on the University’s reopening plans amidst COVID-19. In this position, I have found that my experiences as a chanicha (camper), madricha (counselor), and rosh aydah (unit head) at Yavneh have been surprisingly applicable. Many of the lessons and values central to Yavneh have carried over to my work as a student leader. Specifically, the flexibility, creativity, compassion and sense of community that pervades Yavneh similarly guides my work in advocating for students on campus. It is comforting to bring this piece of Yavneh with me, and I am confident that these values will guide me through the end of my college career and beyond.
I have also been applying my experience from Yavneh in a much more real sense. I currently live in an off-campus house with ten roommates. (Coincidentally enough, all ten of us are Jewish and worked as counselors at overnight camps!). Because ten is the limit for indoor gatherings in the state of Michigan, we can really only hang out with each other. In order to make the most of our senior experience, my friend Leor and I were designated Roshei Kef (Heads of Fun) for our house. We basically work as unpaid madrichot (counselors) for our friends, and we plan fun peulot (activities) for our house. For example, last week, our roommate’s boyfriend came and visited. We threw him a “Bar Mitzvah-themed” party: we played Coke and Pepsi, sang to our favorite 2000s Bar Mitzvah tunes, and danced to Israeli music! This week, we are doing “powerpoint night,” in which each house member creates their own powerpoint on a funny topic of their choice and presents it to the rest. Who knew my experience as a madricha and rosh ayda at Yavneh would be so relevant to ten 22-year-old senior college students in quarantine?
If these experiences have taught me anything, it’s that Yavneh follows you wherever you go. Now, more than ever, I’m grateful for the time I’ve been able to spend in Northwood.