By Coach Rabbi Leah Citrin
For the third summer in a row, I had the wonderful opportunity to serve on faculty for second session at URJ’s 6 Points Sports Academy in Greensboro, NC. Despite long hours that stretch way past my typical bedtime, I return each summer feeling energized and renewed. The list of things I love about Jewish camp in general and 6 Points in particular goes on and on: time on the lacrosse field, tennis court, baseball diamond, and in the pool; dynamic Israel programming run by the mishlachat; casual conversations about living a Jewish life with both campers and staff; ear shattering chants at lunch for milat hayom and nikayon along with table-banging renditions of Birkat Hamazon; the beauty of the Shabbat stroll and services in the holy stadium; and so much more.
A theme that thread through this summer in particular was the value of saying and living with a ‘yes, and’ approach to life. ‘Yes, and’ requires openness and flexibility as well as confidence and courage.
One of my roles at camp is to facilitate service participation. As the house parent for the youngest boys’ dorm, I worked with the Tel Aviv Tigers–all 27 of them–to capture what it meant to them to embody the principle of ‘yes, and’. They completed three sentences and then I put their words together to create an iyyun, or poetic offering, to share during Shabbat morning services. Nine boys wanted to read during services and the moment was truly sacred.
As we enter the month of Elul and look toward the new year (both school and Jewish), we can learn a lot from the Tel Aviv Tigers about what it means to live in the ‘yes, and’:
I am a son; a nephew; a brother.
I am a kid; a boy; a human being.
I am a 6 Points Camper and I am a Tel Aviv Tiger.
I am an athlete and I am an artist.
I am a Jew and I am a musician.
I am a superstar and I am a teammate.
I am a leader and I am a follower.
I am all of these because of my parents and my family.
I am all of these because I work hard and I make myself these things.
I am all of these because of all the people that support me.
I am all of these because I was born that way and I believe I can do it.
I am all of these because I don’t need to be only one of them.
Funny, athletic AND smart,
Happy, crazy AND quiet,
Nice, strong AND kind,
Loving, Jewish AND American,
Fast, intelligent AND sporty.
Short AND tall,
Helpful AND annoying,
Weird AND awesome.
I am also curious, caring, and courageous.
I am all of these because…
I am me.
I am Proud and thoughtful.
I am grateful and thankful.
I am free.
Rabbi Leah Citrin is the Associate Rabbi at Temple Beth Or in Raleigh, North Carolina and a proud member of the URJ 6 Points Sports Academy family!