Posts Tagged 'Mensches'

The Job of Making Mensches

In just over a week,  on September 13th, will be the annual celebration of Character Day created by my friend Tiffany Shlain. In preparation for this I wanted to share a new article I wrote for the September addition of the American Camp Association Magazine entitled The Job of Making Mensches: Campers with Integrity and Honor. In this article I explored the process of sharing the resource inspired by Tiffany Shlain’s Periodic Table of Character Strengths  titled “Making Mensches Periodic Table”with the field of Jewish camp.  This this poster and accompanying resources inspired and continues to inspire discussions about how to develop Middot, character traits ( see below links). At the outset of this project, to get the creativity flowing, we  intentionally left it as an informational resource for you, your family, or your organization to utilize in whatever creative way you find relevant. As time moves on we realize that we need to provide more specific resources. You might enjoy this expanding and interactive website version of Making Mensches. We have some interesting new functions, programs, and fun things planned for this coming year. We also continue to develop additional educational resources surrounding this project.  If you would like to contribute any ideas, suggestions, or directions to take this project please contact me or just comment below.

I hope that seeing this blog or even reading my new article inspires you to find a  new way to join in celebrating Character Day this year.

Resources for the Making of Mesnches

Advertisements

The Loudest Noise: The Sound of Rosh HaShanah

Camp_0378

As we get ready for Rosh HaShanah, we get ready to hear the blasts of the Shofarassociated with the Jewish New Year. In comparison, I think about the ruckus I hear every time I go visit a Jewish summer camp. Both are loud and disruptive. But while the sound of camp always fills my heart with joy, the shofar often evokes a negative feeling. It is something my 9 year old son would call “judgative.” Yes these are the days of Judgement, but why do I need to feel so judged? What is the meaning of all of this noise on the Jewish New Year?

For some of us, the sound of the Shofar might be a new thing and a strange sound. For others it may remind them of growing up and hearing it at synagogue. And for yet others it might remind them of the way they aspire to live their lives. Some people might hear the walls of Jericho tumbling or the coronation of the King while for the people sitting next to them, it might be a blast to the past hearkening back to the ram at the binding of Isaac when Isaac was almost killed by his father Abraham. For some it might be the sound of Sisra’s mother at seeing the death of her child. And yet for others, it might just be disruption and an annoyance. I imagine the Shofar blast is supposed to evoke a combination of all of these feelings and more.

The sound of the Shofar makes me stop and ask myself am I fully realizing my potential? Am I in a groove or in a rut? It is less about being judged and more about comforting the uncomfortable and discomforting the comfortable. Rabbi Israel Salanter, the founder of the Mussar Movement, commented that the loudest sound in the universe was the breaking of a bad habit. Are creatures of habit or are we living with intention? If we listen closely to the sound of the Shofar this year we might figure out if we are indeed (and in deed) the best people we can be. Similarly, Jewish camp is a place in which we get to try on new persona and practice new habits. Maybe the ruckus of camp and the sound of the Shofar are not so different. In both we might hear the call to realize our inner Mensch.

Becoming a better person is not just about breaking bad habits, it is also about doing the hard work of making good habits. For more on answering the call of that inner Mensch check out Let it Ripple’s The Making of a Mensch on September 18 – Character Day 2015. The film, directed by Tiffany Shlain, and accompanying resources takes a look at character through the lens of these ancient Jewish teachings. Over 5,000 screenings are scheduled globally in schools, synagogues, JCCs, nonprofits, Jewish camps, and other community organizations. After the 10 minute film, engage with a range of learning materials designed to spur conversation and reflection. What better time to dive into questions around morals, personal growth, and character development? Gmar Chatima Tova – May we all have a sweet New Year. Who does not like the sound of that?

-Reposted from eJewishPhilanthropy and the Canteen.

Mussar Meets the Science of Character

I wanted to share a new resource inspired by Tiffany Shlain’s Periodic Table of Character Strengths.  Titled “Making Mensches Periodic Table”, I hope this poster will inspire discussion about how to develop Middot, character traits.  I’ve intentionally left it as an informational resource for you, your family, or your organization to utilize in whatever creative way you find relevant.

To get the creativity flowing, I’ve included some questions for camp’s to consider as they discuss organizational visioning, personal development for staff and campers, and ways for you or your staff turn these ideas into a program or initiative at camp.

I am continuing to develop additional educational resources surrounding this project.  If you would like to contribute any suggestions, please contact me or just comment below.  For those of you who missed Tiffany Shlain’s presentation at the Foundation for Jewish Camp’s Leaders Assembly, or just want a refresher, you can view The Science of Character (8 min.)here Please let me know how you use this.

Mussar Meets the Science of Character

Questions to Consider at Camp


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 3,368 other followers

Archive By Topic


%d bloggers like this: