By Rabbi Alan Cook and Cantor Adam Kahan, Kallah Segel (Faculty)
There are a number of games we play at OSRUI to help with Hebrew instruction. Best-known is the “sandwich” method, in which the English translation of a word is “sandwiched” between recitations of the word in Hebrew (for example, “Bayit–House–Bayit”). Another method is the “we know…” game, which creates an ever-increasing vocabulary for the chanichim (campers). Once they know a word, we can say, “We know that ‘bayit’ means ‘house,’ but what does ‘tzrif’ mean?”
Throughout all summers, chanichim use these methods to improve their Hebrew vocabulary, but during this summer, Kallah (along with the rest of the eidot (units)) is working to move beyond mere vocabulary-building. In doing so, they are achieving a deeper internalization of certain terms and concepts. Like all of the eidot this summer, we are focusing on four middot (values). These are kavod, ometz, t’sumet lev, and derech eretz. For the purpose of uniform understanding of these values across camp, the “official” translations, respectively, of these middot are: honor, perseverance, mindful presence, and community mindedness.
From the early days of Kallah Bet, our chanichim have demonstrated that they know what each of these middot entail in their straightforward definitions. But they have proven an understanding that goes beyond merely defining terms. Kallah chanichim are putting these middot into action throughout their day– when they eat, when they sing, when they enter or exit a building, when they participate in their chugim (elective actvities), or any of the other moments that are the building blocks of a magical Kallah summer. Kallah knows what these values mean. More significantly, Kallah knows how to live out these values in their daily lives, and how to have a great time doing so!
Rabbi Alan Cook is a rabbi at Sinai Temple in Champaign, IL. Cantor Adam Kahan is the cantor at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook, IL.