By Deb Silverthorn
Dallas’ Jewish Boy Scout community will gather from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 10, at Levine Academy. The occasion? A celebration of Scout Shabbat Across America 2018. The event will include a Havdalah service, beginning at 7:30 p.m.
Following the second line of the Scout’s oath and promise, to “do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law,” all local Boy Scouts — and the community — are invited.
“We are very excited to share the close of Shabbat with all of the area Scouts, all affiliations and those unaffiliated. This is a family and an important and special opportunity to share,” said Andy Domenico, cubmaster of the newly formed Cub Scout Pack 3636, which is hosting the evening. “Scouting absolutely encourages duties to God, of reverence, and we are here to make scouting more a part of our community.”
Domenico, a Dallas native who was a Cub Scout, Boy Scout, then Life Scout, is honored to lead the new pack for those in kindergarten through age 10. His wife, Amanda, serves as community chair, and son Joey is a member. “We created our pack to celebrate Jewish heritage, and scouting’s best – and they are not mutually exclusive at all,” Domenico said.
The Dallas Jewish Committee on Scouting, a division of the National Jewish Committee on Scouting, is associated with the Boy Scouts of America. The purpose of the DJCoS is to promote scouting among Jewish youth, and to bring the values of Judaism to scouting.
“We have had Friday night and Saturday morning services in the past, but Havdalah allows the community from all over to join in and share this special time,” said DJCoS Chair Stephen Shore. “Welcoming the new pack to the community is something wonderful to do together, and that they are hosting this service allows us all to promote Judaism among Jews and to celebrate as one.”
This year’s Havdalah will allow Scouts from the community, including those who observe Shabbat, to have enough time, following the appearance of three stars, to participate. Scouts in uniform will receive the 2018 Scout Shabbat badge.
“Havdalah means ‘separation,’ and the Scouts indeed separate themselves as a distinguished group of people. As Jews, whether we come together as a nation at Sinai or a group at Levine, we too distinguish ourselves, and it is an honor for Levine Academy to serve as the home base for Pack #3636 and this service,” said Levine Academy Director of Jewish Life and Learning Rabbi Jeremy Litton. “The ideals that Scouts impart are Torah values, directing us to care for all in our community and the pursuit of tikkun olam, repairing the world.”
Litton said parents have an obligation to teach their children survival skills. Those skills are learned as a part of Scout training. Merit badges earned are symbolic of skill sets embodying responsibilities met.
“Scouting for Jewish youth is a premier program teaching leadership, values, and patriotism through the Boy Scouts, one of the leading programs in our country,” said Bruce Chudacoff, National Jewish Committee on Scouting chairman. “Scouting allows families time together building closer relationships, bonding through fun and meaningful opportunities.”