Last week, Makom Community had our first entirely outdoor Winter Break Camp! We met on Ionic Street to learn about Jewish traditions around the world through art projects, games, obstacle courses, and lots of running around.
Monday was all about Jewish traditions and holidays that emphasize light. We talked about lighting Chanukah candles and how that brings light and warmth into our own homes during the darkest, coldest part of the year. Kiddos were excited to compare different kinds of candles we use throughout the year for various holidays: Chanukah candles, Shabbat candles, and our favorite, the braided havdalah candle. We made our very own ner tamid (everlasting light) to bring home and remind us that there is always love and the light of the Jewish Community in our lives.
On Tuesday, we learned about the Exodus from Egypt and the Diaspora which scattered Jews all around the world. The day before we had painted our very own world maps. We used them to see where Philadelphia is in relation to Israel, and where Israel is in relation to Egypt. We found Australia, Russia, South Africa, and so many other countries. Kiddos absolutely loved playing SPUD, a game where everyone runs and scatters while one person catches a ball and tosses it like a bowling ball to try to hit another person’s feet. We changed it up a bit though and instead of counting S-P-U-D any time our feet were tagged by the ball, we counted E-X-O-D-U-S. We could have played that game for the whole week!
On Wednesday, we compared our holiday practices as Jews in the USA to things that people may do in Israel for those same holidays. We played a rousing game of charades where we got to act out various traditions such as lighting a bonfire on Lag B’Omer, a city-wide Purim parade, using an oil lamp on Chanukah, and planting a tree on Tu B’Shevat. We also made mezuzot out of markers. We took the ink out of the center, replaced it with the Shema prayer, and decorated the outside.
Unfortunately on Thursday, the weather wasn’t very pleasant, so we moved to Zoom! Kiddos logged on for two hours, and we got to share about our own personal traditions. We drew images of what our Shabbat table looks like, and looked forward to when we will be able to invite friends and family to our homes again for Shabbat. We explored synagogues in Dubai, UAE, and Budapest, Hungary. We finished off the week with a brush it off and lock it in for the entire year of 2020, and counted down to the new year together.
Families were so flexible during this week of outdoor programming and we had a fabulous time playing and learning together. While we’re looking forward to the return of indoor programming, this was a unique experience that ended up being so much fun!