Building on its successful 2016 pilot program, Areyvut will again run 5 Days/5 Ways, its annual chesed camp for middle school students, from July 31 to August 4. The camp will bring middle school students together for a week to learn about and participate in good deeds and community service throughout Bergen County.
5 Days/5 Ways is based at the Friends of Lubavitch of Bergen County. The camp inculcates values and helps participants to develop skills in consensus building and inclusion. Every day has a different theme. There are projects and activities as participants learn about that Jewish value and how they can actively use that value to make the world a better place. They then go on a field trip and have the opportunity to put their new skills to work visiting seniors, cleaning trails, packaging food and reading to children. They are challenged and pushed outside their comfort zone as they deal with new situations and meet new people. Participants in the program will make friends, learn new chesed skills, maximize their talents and gain new insights on community service and Jewish tradition, all why having fun.
Loretta Paley, mother of last year’s participant Mordechai Paley, describes the program as having had an immediate impact on her son. She said, “I can’t begin to tell you how happy my son went to camp in the morning and happy and fulfilled he looked when he returned. I could see his self-esteem grow daily as he gave back to others. One day, he beamed that he had asked our mailman if he would like to have a big cup of water. He said that the camp had given the suggestion to do hakarat hatov to others.”
Alisa Danon Kaplan, one of the educators leading the program explained, “There are two Hebrew words often translated as responsibility—areyvut and achrayut. Areyvut comes from the Talmud (Shevuot 39a), which states, “Kol yisrael arevim zeh bazeh,” all of Israel is responsible for one another. Areyvut is the responsibility to those within the community. “Achrayut” comes from the Hebrew word “acher,” meaning “other.” In a broader sense, it is the moral commitment that we have to others to make their needs and concerns our own. Areyvut’s goal for 5 Days/5 Ways is that participants will develop a sense of areyvut, and achrayut as they learn to care about those who are part of their community and those who are outside their normal daily lives.”