This summer at J camps our theme is “PLAY UNPLUGGED!” Take the challenge of going “unplugged” in different ways this summer. The most meaningful way is through being Jewish-unplugged — do mitzvot! Each week, learn a little and find ways that you can do for others.
The word “mitzvah” means commandment although the word is often used to mean any good deed. In Judaism, we believe that there are 613 commandments. Some mitzvot help us relate to one another (mitzvot bayn adam lechavayro) and some which guide us in our relationship with G-d (mitzvot bayn adam laMakom).
We are going to focus this summer on those mitzvot that help us relate to one another. One more thought before your family begins Summer Mitzvah Magic: The rabbis used the phrase “simcha shel mitzvah,” which means the joy you feel every time you do a mitzvah.
We have nine weeks of camp and nine mitzvot opportunities that you will read about each week in the TJP. Learn each week and try different ways to give. Find something that your family can do together and then make it a habit. Here are the values we will be focusing on this summer.
Mitzvah Magic Values
Week 1: Hachnasat Orchim — Hospitality
Week 2: Bal Tashchit — Don’t Destroy
Week 3: Kibud Av Va’eym — Honoring Parents
Week 4: Tzedakah — The Righteous Way to Give
Week 5: Nedarim — Keeping Commitments
Week 6: V’ahavta L’reyacha — Loving One’s Neighbor
Week 7: Tzaar Baalei Chayim — Being Kind to Animals
Week 8: Hiddur P’nai Zaken — Esteeming the Elderly
Week 9: Talmud Torah — The Study of Torah
Each week do something good for someone and you will do something good for yourself! Join the J Mitzvah Challenge — let us know what your family did and we will celebrate a summer of mitzvot! Much of the information for these nine weeks of mitzvot comes from the book “Doing Mitzvot — Mitzvah Projects for Bar/Bat Mitzvah” by Rabbi Ronald H. Isaacs and Rabbi Kerry M. Olitzky.
Laura Seymour is director of camping services and Jewish life and learning at the Jewish Community Center of Dallas.