Staff Week with Segel

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Shalom from OSRUI! Every year, more than 50 Rabbis, Cantors, and Educators who spend time with us at camp in the summer.  They work closely with the Rashei Eidot (unit heads) to create fun Jewish experiences that are educational and engaging. Today we are joined by Rabbi Phyllis Sommer, a longtime OSRUI Segel member, who reflects on her time during Staff Week 2022.

I had the immense privilege of sharing time with our incredible OSRUI Tzevet (Staff) during Shavua Hachanah, our Staff Training Week. The enthusiasm and energy of the madrichim (counselors) and moomchim (specialists) and their leaders on our mazkirut (leadership team) was a joy to share. I am certain this summer will be the best one yet!

“We joined together in prayer and song, and I was so grateful to settle into some of our favorite OSRUI tefillah (prayer) traditions. One tradition: when reading Yotzer Or, the morning prayer for creation, we give extra emphasis to the phrase “Mah rabu ma’asecha Adonai” – “How great are Your creations, O God.” It’s just one line in a longer prayer, but I love hearing this line said in such a loud voice, all together.

I was further delighted that when I asked the tzevet to share some of their favorite Jewish moments at OSRUI from their past, many of them cited this line from tefillah. But they didn’t recall it as words spoken in our chapels or synagogues. They recalled it when standing with their madrichim, looking out at a sunset or view, and using these incredibly Jewish & Hebrew words to exclaim their amazement at God’s beautiful creation. I was struck by this wonderful infusion and integration of their Jewish sensibilities into every moment of their lives.

Mah rabu ma’asecha Adonai – how great are Your works, O God! Thank you, God, for the gift of this remarkable group of people to lead our OSRUI community into Summer 2022! May their hearts be filled with joy, their minds open to new ideas, and their souls filled with the blessing of our holy OSRUI community.

Rabbi Phyllis Sommer is the Director of Congregational Learning at Am Shalom in Glencoe, Illinois, and her favorite camp meal is pizza with ranch dressing.