Yom Shishi, 11 Sivan 5778
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26 February 2016

6th Grade Retreat - from the Perspective of our Madrichim

By Allyson Morgenthal & Hannah Haar

6th Grade Retreat, 2/19-2/21, 2016

Allyson Morgenthal and Hannah Haar, 12th grade madrichim (mentors) in our Religious School, write about the 6th grade retreat to Camp Harlam that they staffed the weekend of February 19-21:

A bus full of 6th graders arrived at Camp Harlam on Friday night, February 19 for our annual retreat. After settling in we had Shabbat dinner. Next, we had Shabbat services led by our Camp Harlam song leader for the weekend, Jason Flatt and Rabbi Smiley.  Following services we played games to make sure everyone got to know each other. Playing the name game was especially challenging considering there were over 40 6th graders!!! We wrote a mitzvah that we had completed on paper leaves and hung them on a mitzvah tree!

On Saturday morning, Rabbi Smiley led morning services and the students from Temple Emanuel of Cherry Hill joined us. For the Torah service we unrolled the Torah and laid it across our laps. It was so cool seeing the whole Torah! Next we made beautiful wooden Tzedakah boxes. We got to pick what color we wanted it to be and make it all ourselves!  After lunch we got into groups and each group was assigned one of the eight levels of Tzedakah from Maimonides. We created skits using random props and then we got to guess what order the level went in and we were pretty close!!  Next we had some free time -- some of us played gaga, some went on a tour of camp, and others played basketball. Next we played a game that involved rolling giant dice and learning mitzvah heroes and mitzvah project to help us start thinking of ideas for our own mitzvah projects. After free time and dinner, we had a beautiful Havdalah service and an activity that made us think about what we are passionate about and what we want to change in the world. We ended the evening watching a movie called the Little Red Wagon. This movie was about an 11 year old boy who was passionate about helping the homeless and the hungry and started his own foundation. After a long day it was finally time for bed!

We finished our weekend filming silent movies about what we are good at, what we are passionate about, something that bothers us with the world, and what we can do to fix it. We had an amazing weekend making friends, learning about mitzvah heroes and dreaming about our mitzvah projects. To read more about mitzvah projects at Temple Emanu-El, click here.

Alayne Morgenthal (Allyson's mother) reflects on her daughter's post-Bat Mitzvah learning at Temple Emanu-El:

It has been a delight to watch my daughter embrace her Jewish learning from the Temple into a meaningful contribution.  As she has moved from post-Bat Mitzvah to 12th grade, she loves helping students prepare for their B'nai Mitzahs and know she is helping them feel more comfortable with this task ahead.  I love that she has continued with her Jewish education and that she feels a part of this community.

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