After enjoying the urban atmosphere of Tel Aviv, our group headed further south to Ashkelon. We arrived at Kehillat Netzach Israel, a Masorti synagogue and community center, where we were greeted by a Torah scribe. He told us about the fascinating process of writing a Torah and some of the ways scribes proofread their work—including even consulting a child before the age of bar/bat mitzvah to see what they think!
After this, we walked over to classrooms at the synagogue to spend time with young children ages 4-6. We spent the night before our visit planning simple and fun activities to do with the kids and packing them some goodie bags for them. Once we arrived, the children were all sitting politely, eagerly awaiting what we had planned for them. We taught some English words by playing Simon Says, made some necklaces and other artwork, and boogied down with a freeze dance.
I really enjoyed our time in Ashkelon. Some of the children we spent time with are growing up in underprivileged households, so it was really rewarding to see all of them have such a good time with us. While I personally struggled at times with communicating with the kids due to some language barriers, we still managed to have a lot of fun with one another. This experience has reaffirmed for me that by helping others we can do tikkun olam and make the world a better place for us to live in.
Tikkun olam is present in all aspects of camp. Whether it is our Shoafim tzedakah project each year, or our machon chaverim program with Tikvah, we try to emphasize the importance of putting others before ourselves. As a counselor I hope to act as a model of tikkun olam for my campers—even in the small ways, like picking up litter on the ground or talking through camper issues they may struggle with. The key to success in life is to help one another.
Sam Weiner, 19, was born in Washington, D.C. and has lived in Deerfield, IL since the age of two. He attended Camp Ramah in Wisconsin as a camper for many years and was a Tikvah counselor there for the past two. He is a student at University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he plans on majoring in chemistry.