Miriam’s Song

In BeShalach, last week’s Torah portion, we read of the Israelites’ escape from Egypt and the subsequent miracle of the splitting of the Red Sea. In response, Moses and the Israelites sang Az Yashir, a poem in praise of their salvation. And if it was not for Miriam’s Song by Debbie Friedman z”l, most of us would not be familiar with the short poem and dance that was sung by Miriam and the women that followed her. There, we read:

“And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances.” (Exodus 15: 20)

How did they know to pack their timbrels? To all present, Miriam and the women pulling out their timbrels must have been as much a miracle as the splitting the Red Sea itself. On this, Rashi, the premier medieval Jewish commentator, said:

“The righteous women of the generation were certain that G-d would perform miracles for them so they took timbrels with them from Egypt.”

According to Rashi, they planned for this moment.

How do we plan for this moment? This question was on my mind last week when I had the pleasure of spending time at Capital Camps with an amazing group of Jewish educators, advisors, event staff, and an advisory committee working on the 2011 FJC Cornerstone Seminar (pictures below).

In May, with the support of the AVI CHAI Foundation, FJC will bring together a team of third-year bunk staff from each of the 49 participating Cornerstone camps across North America (we estimate over 275 staff will attend!). Together, these Fellows will learn how to infuse Jewish education into all aspects of their camp program.

Every camp moves to the beat of its own drum, and the Fellows we bring together are representatives of these unique and varied communities. There is an amazing amount of work and preparation that goes into making the May seminar experience a model for the quality experiences these staff members are creating for their campers this summer.

After a week of careful planning, I am very excited to have the Fellows join us this spring. It takes a lot of planning for it to feel spontaneous, but that is ultimately the miracle of camp itself.

– as appeared on Foundation for Jewish Camp Blog

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