Program Highlight: Moral Courage
This spring SLC received a generous grant from the Foundation for Jewish Camp to fund a visit from a well known Jewish educator and Founding Executive Director of Tzedek America, Avram Mandell. Avram facilitated programs by unit with campers ages 12 and older about the Hebrew term for courage, ometz lev, which means “strength” or “heart-strength.” Ometz is a core Jewish middah, a spiritual and ethical trait.
Campers learned about taking action despite the risk of adverse consequences. Avram told stories about putting careful consideration and thought into a decision they are going to make in Camp and outside of Camp.
During the seminar, campers shared stories about times where someone stood up for them or they stood up for someone else. Dylan, a Sherwood Camper, shared a story about a time when he was at a movie theater with friends. Dylan is blind and he constantly rocks back and forth to keep his balance. He was brave enough to share a story from a few months back where his friends stood up for him at the theater when a group made fun of him for rocking back and forth. Dylan said, “My friends made me feel really good because I knew they supported me.”
Avram asked campers to come up with a mantra for moral courage. Something that would help them be a change-maker – here at Camp and when they return home to their communities. Pictured above is Dylan, his partner Mikah and Avram. Dylan wrote, “Don’t be a bystander,” in braille and Mikah covered Dylan’s dots with gems. Their artwork has so much meaning to it.
Campers shared their personal definitions of courage and one camper offered, “Courage is standing up for what you believe in.” The campers were engaged throughout the program and the topic was a perfect fit to help us continue to build the SLC community so early in the summer. We were proud to see our campers working together to commit to standing up for people.