By Laura Seymour
Camp is in full swing at the J and throughout the U.S. One of our most important values at camp is courage — ometz lev.
The most interesting thing about the Hebrew word is that it translates as “strength of heart.” It is not just about being strong in a physical way, but doing the right thing when it is hard. More than that, it is also about doing something new and different.
Here are a few sections from an article titled “Giving Ourselves Permission to Take Risks: by Elizabeth Jones. The article was written primarily for early childhood but it is really a message for all of us.
“Courage, as we’ve learned from the Cowardly Lion, is a virtue that is hard to sustain. New experiences are often scary; we don’t know what will happen next or what we should do. Yet all new learning involves risk. We learn by doing — and by thinking about the past and the future.
“Risk is inevitable; it’s a requirement for survival. The challenge is to name it, practice it, enjoy the rush of mastery, and bear the pain when pain is the outcome.
“A child who climbs may fall. But a child who never climbs is at much greater risk. Fall surfaces under climbers aren’t there to prevent falls, only to make them less hard. And hugging doesn’t make the pain go away, but it does make it more bearable.”
Today we stand with Israel. There is a special kind of courage that is needed now and there are many risks. Those in Israel will display one form of courage and we in the U.S. another, but display our courage by standing up for Israel!
Shalom … from the Shabbat Lady.
Laura Seymour, Director is director of Camping Services at the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center of Dallas.