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Bonim Evening Program: Session One

 

by Charlotte Passmore, Photographer and Communications Specialist

One of the activities that all Campers do throughout their summer is “Evening Program”. It’s pretty self explanatory – it is a program Campers indulge in during the evening, after Dinner and Services! These specific programs are created by the staff and the Unit Programmers. I interviewed the Bonim Unit Programmer – Zavi Feldstein – to find out what it is the Bonim Campers (3rd and 4th Graders) do during evening program.

The first thing Zavi told me was that each Unit has a theme that relates entirely to Judaism and Jewish Values. Bonim’s theme in particular focuses on “Stories”, and the belief that all stories come from stories. The element of Judaism is incorporated into this theme by the belief that “the route of Judaism lies in stories”. Zavi told me that the Bonim unit were well aware of the theme of their unit, and are always understanding how their evening program activities link in with this particular theme through the Jewish under-linings each activity gives.

Zavi was able to give me a couple examples of evening programs that the Bonim Campers have recently participated in. One of these programs, “Name That Tune”, involved Campers reading poems that focused around prayers, and were asked to take one word from the poem and write down songs that they associated with that word. It was quickly realized that many of the songs that the Campers had chosen were in fact songs that we sing at T’Fillah! As Camper Reva W., put it, “I learned a lot of new songs! Also, they all have the same words as the prayers we sing in services.” I asked Zavi, aside from the obvious connection made between the activity and using Jewish prayers in these activities, how this program linked in with their “Stories” theme. As it goes, the Bonim Campers believe that music is a way of telling stories, and singing is one way in which you are always continuing the Jewish story. Eden W. said “I learned that songs all tell different stories.”

I asked Zavi what it is she thinks that the Bonim Campers enjoy so much about this particular theme. She commented, “Bonimers love stories. They like doing trivia, asking questions and finding out the facts and answers to these questions! It enables them to give information to others about their own stories, which is what the Bonim theme is about. They don’t necessarily need to tell stories strictly around Jewish values, even though we do encourage this, but it means they are sharing their own worldly experiences with other Campers and connecting on a level simply through the act of story telling”.