Tuesday, July 25, 2017

There is no wrong way to pray at OSRUI with guest editor: Brian Avner

Our Beit T'filah
From my time at OSRUI:
A beach, a game show and a song parody; what do they all have in common?   Can you imagine that the answer is t’filot, services, t’filot (clap)?  In Kibbutz HaTzofim Gimmel at OSRUI the answer is YES.  We have been given the golden opportunity to be as creative as possible as we plan daily t’filot with both campers and counselors.  


Each evening, one group of campers is asked to lead t’filot for the rest of Tzofim.  In preparation, they meet with a member of the faculty and their counselors to plan their service in their own, unique way. They are given different ways to personalize their t’filah.  They can pick an opening and closing song and what exact melody they want for any prayer from Barechu to Oseh Shalom.  We are always impressed that since we pray together twice daily, they know exactly which melody they want for each prayer or song.  


The other night, Tzofim had t’filot at the beach.  The impetus for doing t’filot there was that the va’ad (group) that was leading really enjoyed spending time at the beach and knew that being able to sit at the water and watch the sky over the lake could make for a truly spiritual experience.


Preparing for T'filah!
Another recent service was done in the style of a game show.  Instead of just introducing the prayers, the campers leading the service prepared trivia questions to ask the rest of Tzofim to teach them about the prayers as we went along.  Campers were engaged throughout the service and excited to play the game while they prayed.
At the Beach!

Campers always look forward to Shabbat at OSRUI. The are excited to join our procession with the Torah, the story we tell on Tzofim hill, and joining with the entire camp for Shabbat Shira. On Shabbat morning, after reading Torah, instead of a giving a traditional d’rash, we learn about the Torah portion through a song parody.  This past week we learned about Moses not being able to enter Israel and the daughters of Zelophechad fighting for early women’s rights in the Torah to the tune of the song Rude by Magic.


Looking ahead, other t’filot experiences this session will include:  Dodge Ball, Apples to Apples, Visual Arts and T’fifloat (at the pool). Come visit us in Tzofim Gimmel; we can’t wait to pray with you!

Segel from Tzofim:  Brian Avner, Director of Youth Education at Congregation Sinai in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Vanessa M. Ehrlich, Director of Lifelong Learning at Lakeside Congregation in Highland Park, Illinois.