Tavor is a place where chanichimot (campers) can center, explore, and fully express their Jewish identities by creating a Jewish community together.
Tavor embraces our core value of Judaism through exploring Jewish spirituality, cultivating a cultural Jewish identity, creating a connection with Jewish peoplehood, Hebrew, and Israel, and learning from more traditional aspects of the Jewish faith.
At camp, we express this value through our daily and Shabbat activities:
Zman Ruchani (spiritual time)—During this hour before Shabbat, chanichimot can choose from a variety of spiritual Shabbat preparation activities, including traditional Kabbalat Shabbat, reflective and meditative activities, storytelling, and more.
Singing in Hebrew—The songs we sing every day at camp are in English and Hebrew. By learning, translating, and singing Hebrew songs together, we foster a connection with the Hebrew language for chanichimot (campers) of all Hebrew language levels.
Learning about Jewish values—In all of our peulot (activities), Jewish values are at the core of our learning about the environment, kvutza (group) building, and more.
Parshat HaShavua (weekly Torah portion)—Every Saturday, Tavor chanichimot participate in an activity learning about the weekly Torah portion. We encourage re-interpretations of the story and learn through acting it out and asking questions.
Optional birkat hamazon (after-meal prayer)—After the Friday night meal, any chanichimot (campers) who would like to sing the traditional birkat hamazon can do so with a madrichol.
Learning about Israel—Creating a connection to and responsibility for Israel is central to our education at Tavor, and we believe that learning about Israel’s complexities is one aspect of a full Jewish identity.
Special Moments on Shabbat Hill
Reflections from Julia Devarti (Camp Tavor Education Coordinator 2017)
As the sun sets over Shabbat Hill on Friday nights at Camp Tavor, chanichimot (campers) can be heard singing and laughing together, watching the sunset and celebrating another week together. One shichvah (age group) welcomes Shabbat with an Israeli dance, before mixing in with the rest of the campers to sing a song welcoming in the calm of another Shabbat. When the song ends, campers and counselors mingle and hug, wishing everyone a Shabbat shalom. These moments on Shabbat Hill each Friday help capture what is so special about a Shabbat at Camp Tavor.
Every week, a different shichvah gets the chance to lead Shabbat, as an exercise of our value of democratic decision making and engagement. Facilitating Shabbat involves leading Kabbalat Shabbat on Friday Night and the Havdalah prayers on Saturday, writing a fun and silly play for the rest of camp and helping to shape a meaningful and restful Shabbat for all. When a shichvah help leads Shabbat, this offers them the chance to share the responsibility of making Shabbat so special.
Two special traditions of a Tavor Shabbat, are Hyde Park and Asepha Klalit (community meeting). Hyde Park occurs every Saturday. During this time kids clamor to get to the milk crate in the center of Hyde Park, where they share their Shabbat reflections with all of camp. Reflections typically consist of “The pancakes this morning were delicious but I’d love some banana ones next time!” a camper might say, or, “Let’s do a better job working to clean up and stack our dishes at lunch today!”
Later, during Saturday afternoons, Asepha Klalit, we hold a meeting during which campers decide communally how they want to express their values. During Asepha Klait campers give feedback about camp and problems they can solve together. Every session, during Asepha Klatit our campers also vote on where to give tzedakah money or what to name new camp buildings. These special times are an opportunity for campers to feel ownership over the Shabbat experience while getting to build an intentional community together.
While Shabbat is a special moment for a shichvah to come together, it’s also an incredible time for the community when all of camp gets to spend time together. Many campers say that hugging all of their friends on top of Shabbat Hill and lying together to reflect is their favorite parts of the week. Shabbat at Tavor gives campers a great opportunity to reconnect with their friends, the entire camp community, and gives everyone a chance to refresh themselves for the exciting week to come.