.The Power of Kehillah
By Claire Rawson-Dannenbaum
Claire was one of 65 Reconstructionist teens from across North America who participated in our No’ar Hadash Teen Kallah, held on April 8 this year in Philadelphia.
The values I’ve learned at Camp JRF and at the Teen Kallah have been incredibly significant to my life. Through these programs, I have been given a kehillah—
and have made strong friendships through Camp JRF and No’ar Hadash. Throughout the Reconstructionist teen community, everyone shares a few fundamentals such as the values of spiritual peoplehood that shape Howie Bee
(“how we be”) and the resulting mutual respect allows us to form deep and meaningful relationships that last a lifetime. There is no other place where I can sit casually with my boss late at night, laughing uncontrollably with an Oreo stuck to my forehead.
experiential educational programs—
and divrei Torah
at Camp JRF and No’ar Hadash, I have explored the lessons of the Torah and the moral and ethical standards we hold ourselves to as Jews. I have learned what it means to zi a mentsch
and ways of implementing that in my daily life.
Going to camp forced me to wrestle with my Jewish identity. I have questioned God and Torah and formed my own opinions instead of flat-out rejecting or blindly accepting my parents’ beliefs. Now I can participate in philosophical conversations, whether they are with a rabbi, peers, or even the occasional English teacher.
The happiness that comes out of these teen experiences is immeasurable. For weeks after a Kallah or camp, I feel the warmth and glow of this community. The Reconstructionist movement is home to so many intelligent, bright, funny, and kind young people. Whether we’re impersonating vegetables or pondering the existence of a divine entity, I am never happier than with my Reconstructionist kehillah
For more information about Camp JRF, No’ar Hadash, and other ways to get your teens involved, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.