Summer is coming to an end and camp is over! It is a happy and sad time for campers and camp directors.
During Elul, we start the process of reflecting about the past year and planning for the New Year. A wonderful (and practical) tradition is to blow/hear the shofar every day of this month. Judaism is so practical — to get ready for shofar blowing at the holidays, we need to start practicing. However, that sound is meant to wake us up to evaluation and hopefully change.
This was a wonderful summer — camp was great and the JCC Maccabi Games were beyond amazing! Spending time with so many different people (kids, teens, adults of all ages and stages) affords one the opportunity to reflect on diversity of our community and family. We often struggle with the challenges of the many differences but we can also celebrate these differences.
At Camp Chai at the J, we sing every day together and a favorite song is Catalina Magdalina, about a crazy, mixed-up girl who is definitely different.
Many years ago I wrote a parody to the tune telling the various blessings that Jacob gave to each of his sons. Jacob blesses each son differently as each one is different. (check out Genesis 49 to see if I got the essence of each blessing).
Now, during this month of Elul, think of the blessings you can bestow on family and friends and even co-workers and neighbors that will celebrate the diversity in our lives. As Jacob did with his sons, recognize that each person is different, unique and b’tzelem Elohim (in the image of God).
Jacob Blesses His Sons
CHORUS: Jacob had 12 sons but they came from different moms.
Each became a tribe in Jewish history.
Reuben was the oldest but he didn’t have much spine
So he got the basic blessing but without the bottom line.
As for Simeon and Levi, their families got mixed.
Due to what occurred in Shechem, their blessing was nixed.
All honor goes to Judah, the ancestor of David the King.
His tribe would win back the Promised Land and praises would ring.
Zebulon got the seashore and Issachar got the land.
In looking at the blessings, these two were very grand.
The task of judging all the folks was given to Dan.
But for eloquence in speech, Naphtali was the man.
Gad will be a raider with a winning warrior band.
And Asher will lead the traders and bring delicacies to the land.
Benjamin was the baby but he led a wolf-like tribe.
First he takes the goodies and later he will divide.
Joseph was the favorite but we all know that.
He got the longest blessing plus the coat upon his back.
Ephraim and Menasha were Joseph’s pride
They got Grampa Jacob’s blessing as they stood side by side.