My name is Ravi and I’m Rosh Maalot this summer. I’m here to tell you about the Shabbat guest from this past week, Rabbi Yonah Berman.
Each week, the Shabbat guest speaks to the staff during a Friday night oneg and then speaks to campers in Maalot and Kerem on Shabbat afternoon. My chanichim got to hear from Rabbi Yonah during one of these afternoon sichot (conversations). Rabbi Yonah had our chanichim break up into groups to go over a packet of sources based on the Rambam’s (Maimonides) laws concerning prayer. But instead of actually discussing the relevance of the sources to prayer, Rabbi Yonah had us look at the sources through the lens of how they apply to leadership. For example, one source talked about how one should pray in whatever language they best understand, and we discussed how that applies to accommodating everyone’s needs as a leader.
We ended the sicha with a quote from Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel: ““A religious man is a person who holds God and man in one thought at one time, at all times, who suffers harm done to others, whose greatest passion is compassion, whose greatest strength is love and defiance of despair.” The sicha was really empowering and got my chanichim really thinking about their role as future leaders.
On a separate note, Rabbi Yonah is a great person, who I’ve gotten to know outside at camp, as well as over the course of his visits to camp over the past several years. He works for Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School in Riverdale. When I asked him how his Shabbat was, he said it was the same as the past three summers that he’s come to Yavneh: Amazing. We hope to see him back again.
B’ahavah and Shabbat Shalom,