Living Camp’s Middot

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Friday night, Sharon (rising 5th graders) led services based on the theme of our camp’s Middot (Jewish Values). 

By Mia
My bunk’s middah (Jewish values) is confidence and independence. I have always been independent. Coming to camp is a big change since I never really leave home for more than a day. I was really excited about coming to camp. I kept counting down the days. Now I am at camp with my bunk and happy, but am not as independent as I was since I don’t know about everything that happens at camp. My bunkmates and I are always asking questions to our counselors. We started this thing called ‘3 before me.’ If you have a question, you have to ask 3 campers before you ask a counselor. This gives us a chance to be more independent, to help each other to find the answers.

Confidence is important at camp too. You have to be confident when you are doing things like adventure, but also in your cabin, when you need to stand up for yourself. It means sticking to what you know is right and believing you can  resolve problems in the bunk without running to a counselor or CIT for help.


By Lilliana, Caitlyn, Hayden and Addie
Our bunk chose Binah, seeking meaning, for the middah we wanted to accomplish in this past week. It makes sense that we chose this one because our bunk is always complaining. For us, binah means more than just knowing what we are doing. It means connecting with each other and the activity and also learning about our Jewish community.

For example, our whole bunk hates the idea of J-Life, but when the J-Life instructors start the lesson, it is very interesting. We learn a lot about our Jewish life, lessons, community and stories. And those stories connect with our lives.

I don’t really like instructional swim, but I know it is always helpful because if you are in trouble in the water, you can swim to safety.

I was afraid to audition for the play, but I still did. And even though I was scared, it was worth it.

In adventure, I was on the top of the rock wall, and I was afraid to repel down. But when I was back on the ground I noticed that it wasn’t that bad coming down.

In the end, we all learned that binah is very important because you can find meaning in every activity whether you like it or not


By Lulu Yeung
Today we are talking about the middot that we chose to focus on last Shabbat. My bunk chose confidence and independence – Bitachon Atzmi. To me, confidence means being able to raise your hand to speak or to ask that urgent question. It means being first in line to climb the wall or to jump into the pool. Independence means being the judge of which shoes to wear for adventure or wiping down the table after a meal in the chader ochell. At camp, this is very important to learn and remember because you are the first judge of your choices.


By Gabby Rubin
My bunk chose the middah Binah, seeking meaning. Binah means not complaining, trying to understand why something happens, and what it means. It also means asking many questions… Questions in life, questions about life, even questions about the schedule here at camp.

I earned the binah bracelet in J-Life because I asked many questions when Rabbi Adeena and Rabbi Jessie told us the story of G’d telling Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. I thought “maybe this is a story about loyalty. If Abraham did what he was told, then he would be loyal. If he didn’t, them he would be considered not loyal.” I told Rabbi Adeena this and we talked about it for a few minutes. Now I understand that Abraham chose to respect G’d’s wishes but G’d called it off and told Abraham to sacrifice a ram instead. I still don’t know if Abraham thought “why?” I think he had a chance to use the middah Binah there – to ask questions about what G’d wanted him to do. Too bad he didn’t use it.

In camp, thinking about the middah Binah will help my bunk, Sharon 1, to complain less and to ask more.  You should ask when you don’t understand. You can learn about binah by looking back at your past and seeing where you could have used it, and to try to practice Binah more in the future.


By Chase, Carter and Ari
Our midah is pushing through a challenge – Nitzachon. I was pushing through a challenge when I was homesick. It is ok to be homesick, you will get through it eventually. I was pushing through a challenge when I was climbing the tower. I wanted to stop but kept going. I was pushing through a challenge when I was really high on the obstacle course. I got scared. But I took a dee breath and completed the course. If you ever feel stuck, push through it…KEEP ON GOING!


By Sami B., Emily W., Elena G.
Confidence is when you believe in yourself. Being confident in yourself helps you achieve your goals. Being confident can be hard sometimes….But remember to never give up!

For example, when we were going on the rock wall a few years ago, I got so scared that I couldn’t get down. For me, it took a lot of confidence to finally come down after five minutes of waiting. Another example is when we were at the campfire and my hands were accidentally pushed too close to the fire. It took a lot of confidence to pull away and take care of my care of myself. The last example is when I came to camp for the first time this summer. I was a bit nervous that I wouldn’t make any friends, but soon I realized that I wouldn’t just make friends, I would have a whole new family.

Confidence can mean many different things. As you can see, confidence is key if you want to live life to the FULLEST! Sometimes you also have to be independent. Independence means that you need responsibility and patience. Independence benefits you in your life. Being independent is not always good though…sometimes we do need other to help us.

If you are trying to push through a challenge, it takes confidence and independence to push yourself like you’ve never pushed before….what do confidence and independence mean to you? Please think about it during the silent prayer.

By Wyatt S.
When I first came to camp Harlam, I never thought I would fit in. I thought I would be the one to cower in the shadows while everyone else had fun. But when I heard all the CITs and counselors scream “welcome home!” a spark was lit in me. That spark lit into a flame when I first walked into the bunk and saw smiling faces playing Uno. Most of the day I was having fun, but when it came time to lay down in bed, the flame was put out. I felt that I needed to get out of there, back to my family.

But little did I know that the next day was the REAL start of Camp Harlam. The next day started out normal with breakfast and the normal camp excitement. But at lunch, something happened. We all were talking, having fun. But when we started sharing stuff about ourselves, I realized almost everyone was in the same situation as me – new to camp! As the day went on, the more activities we had, the better I felt. Now I feel great! So that is why I have the Simcha/Finding Joy bracelet.


By Alissa, Marissa, Jane
Our bunk chose the middah Bitachon Atzmi – Confidence and Independence. That means trying to do stuff on your own. And also, not being afraid to try new things.

I showed confidence and independence by coming to sleep away camp for the first time. I was nervous because I had never been here before. But now I have been here for almost three weeks – and I am having such a great time.

One time I had to use confidence was when I went to soccer tryouts. I had to show them everything that I could do to on a really good team. It took a lot of confidence that I could do my best and show what a good team player I would  be. I didn’t think I would do as well as I did. Because of my confidence, I made the team.

I also had to show confidence and independence to come to camp this year. It is not my first year at camp, but when I was leaving for camp I was nervous since I hadn’t been here since before the lockdown. I have been home with just my family for over a year and I thought it would be hard to leave them. I didn’t know if I was going to make a lot of friends. But it turned out that I made a huge family and camp has become my second home.

By Alaina G.
It is always a good time for reflection; You can reflect at a service even if it is rainy or sunny outside. I have been reflecting on the middah bracelet I received. Confidence is one amazing trait; I do not think I would be able to come up here without it. I also needed independence to write this and read it tonight without help. Independence doesn’t mean that you should only rely on yourself. Independence means you rely on yourself for smaller things like if you forgot a water bottle or a mask, those are things you can be expected to be independent about. I think both of these words – confidence and independence – are important in their own way, and that’s what makes them special. Remember to reflect on your mistakes, look for ways you can be more confident and independent and that is how you can accomplish anything.

By Charlotte E. 
My bunk is full of complaints and questions. Why are we doing this? Why is it so hot? Our counselors try to answer our questions but we just keep asking them – the same exact questions over and over again. Why? Well, we want an answer but there is no answer. So, the middah binah, “seeking meaning” reminds us that not all questions can be answered, and some questions are not necessary to ask.