Overcoming the Challenges We Face

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The unit of Galil led our Saturday morning Shabbat services last week. Their theme was Nitzachon or pushing through a challenge. Below are some of the words they shared.

By Simon, Lee, Eli, and Matty: Shabbat shalom! Our middah (character trait) today is Nitzachon, which means pushing through a challenge. A challenge all kids our age have to overcome is their b’nei mitzvah. Everyone that comes up to the bima today has overcome that challenge or is practicing for it. It takes months of hard work and practice leading up to that day. But getting the honor of being brought up to the Torah makes it worth it. We hope that you can find something that challenges you this summer, and that you overcome the challenge.

By Talia and Scarlett: This past week, we both were sick in the mirpa’ah (health center). Staying in the mirpa’ah was hard for me because I was all alone and missed my bunk. While I was in the mirpa’ah, I was missing out on fun activities and memories my bunk was making. During my stay in the mirpa’ah, counselors would constantly visit me. This made me feel less lonely and helped me push through. When people came and visited me at the windows and told me stories of what was going on in camp, it made me feel included and part of the bunk again. Thanks to the amazing mirpa’ah staff, we both got better quickly and we are now happy and healthy. This challenge we pushed through made us cherish the times we have with our bunk and the memories we make.

By Bailey, Ziva, and Willow: My first day of camp, back when I was in Sharon, was possibly one of the most nerve-wracking experiences nine-year-old me had ever faced. Previously, I had only been away from home for one week and I knew no one at camp. I decided to reach out and meet my bunkmates. Doing this made such a difference in who I am because I met some of my best friends. Always remember that in situations you are unfamiliar with, it is always a good idea to reach out because those around you might be feeling the same. So next time you are waiting in line for the tower or deciding whether to go in the lake, or trying the mystery eggs at breakfast, take the risk. It’s worth it.

By Molly, Ellie, Lyla, and Madison: Being a teenager, there are so many challenges that we have to overcome. Besides climbing to the top of the tower, we have to learn to trust each other and express ourselves. And especially at camp, it is difficult because we live together, which brings conflicts and disagreements. As our middah states, we push through these challenges and keep a positive attitude and the Sh’ma reminds us that together, we are all one.

By Noa, Lilly, Ellie, Jemmie, and Amy: As the V’ahavta states, “You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and as a symbol on your forehead.” This prayer is talking about wrapping tefillin. I had to learn how to wrap tefillin before I became a bat mitzvah. It was a challenge for me because I didn’t want to wrap God’s name incorrectly. It took me many tries, but I finally got it. I pushed through this challenge by trying and trying again. This made it a physical challenge. In addition to physical obstacles, mental challenges often present themselves to those becoming b-mitzvah. The V’ahavta instructs the Jewish people to love Adonai with all your heart. Many individuals struggle to demonstrate this, and when I was pushed to write a speech that expressed my connection to Judaism and God, I struggled greatly. I didn’t know what to say or do. In the end, it took me months to find the right words, and I finalized my speech only a week in advance of my bat mitzvah. This mental roadblock was one I will never forget, however I pushed through and on April 30th, 2022, I became a bat mitzvah. For me, my bat mitzvah was also a challenge that I was able to get through. For me, it wasn’t just learning Hebrew. It was when the power went out in the building the day of my bat mitzvah. This caused many things to go wrong. Starting out, the ark holding the Torah was electric and sealed shut. We had people working on it and some of the power was turned back on. The one place the power didn’t come back on was the chapel. We had all of my guests brought into a different room that I wasn’t used to. As I was brought up to the bimah, we heard amazing news. The power was finally back on. Finally, I was able to be in the room I was used to. This is an example of a mental challenge I had to overcome and one I will never forget. For years, my family and I planned to travel to Israel for me and my sister’s b’not mitzvah. However, we didn’t anticipate COVID. After my sister and I learned our Torah portions, we were informed that Israel had closed its borders due to COVID-19. We had to learn new portions and prayers, as well as write our d’var Torah and learn how to lead a service in less than three months. I was able to overcome this challenge and I became a bat mitzvah on March 17, 2022. Although I have not had my bat mitzvah yet, a lot of challenges occur in practicing that you have to overcome. One of these challenges for me was learning my Torah portion. It took a lot of work practicing and time. But in the end, I was able to overcome the challenge and learn my portion.

By Avery, Ayla, and Sofia: Pushing through a challenge at camp means different things to all of us. For me, going first session at the same camp with different people was a challenge, but I pushed through, and made so many new friends. For me, a challenge was not being at my happy place when life got hard. My challenge was being at camp without my brother for the first time. Every summer at camp, my brother has been here with me. Now that he is not at camp, I had to adjust to the change, and push through the challenge. There’s not always a time to just reflect about all the challenges you go through in and out of camp. The silent prayer gives us a moment to think back about all the challenges we experience. Please take these next few minutes to think about all the challenges you’ve pushed through, and how far you’ve come.

By Liza, Alex, and Tyler: At camp, there are many challenges we face throughout the day. Each challenge differs from person to person. We take in these challenges for the better. From going double session for the first time, I have to meet and be with new people. This can be hard, but my friends and I will overcome it together. It takes plenty of courage to unlock a door to a new experience that requires change. For instance, the summer of 2020 was a challenge for all of us. But, here we are back in the place we all proudly call home. This school year, whether I was struggling on a hard math question or got a bad grade on a test, I thought about being at camp and everything was okay. Now we’re here. This is a reminder when facing a challenge there is always an open window to push through.

By Ava, Reese, and Sadie: Within our bunk, we faced many challenges. As a bunk it can be hard to communicate with each other and live in such close quarters all the time. Sometimes tension is created and we get frustrated with each other. Although we may fight and disagree, we still know we have to come together as a family and work things out. Camp is a place where the people make it special. At the end of the day, we take some deep breaths and take things through. We resolve these challenges by communicating and being honest with each other. The Mi Shebeirach is about healing and strength. Together we push through our challenges with strength and heal to make the summer all it can be. We encourage you to push through the challenges and heal as a community.

By Jacob: I pushed through new challenges when I went to camp first session for the first time and met new people. This connects to this week’s theme, nitzachon, which means pushing through a challenge. Pushing through a challenge means overcoming a fear, forgiving a friend, or finding love within ourselves.

By Lincoln: This is my first year at Camp Harlam. This week’s middah is “Pushing through a Challenge,” or in Hebrew, Nitzachon. There are challenges that I have faced and persevered through as a newcomer at Camp Harlam. In my own opinion, I feel like nitzachon means that you have the courage to try something you have never done before and succeed at it. In my case of using the idea in action, it was going to Camp Harlam for the first time. I was excited at first, but my excitement quickly turned to dread saw I entered my bunk on opening day. I quickly found out that I had no idea what the rules were, where my stuff was, and on top of that, I was worried I wasn’t going to fit into this new environment. At this time I felt alone, scared even, but out of the darkness, I found a sort of family here at Camp Harlam — one that gave me kindness and respect, which in turn gave me newfound courage to embrace camp and all the fun activities that it consists of. Now I feel a part of Camp Harlam’s wonderful atmosphere, and I would love to come back next year. Shabbat Shalom.

By Max: Nitzachon means “pushing through a challenge.” I can relate to that through middle school. Most of my friends that I thought were caring and kind turned out to be selfish. They stopped spending time with me and started gossiping about me and others behind our backs. They stopped caring and being kind, and they became bullies. I had to look for new friends who were like me and loved me for who I am. Toward the end of the year, instead of trying to get the “cool” kids to be my friends, I decided to sit with the nicer people during lunch and go to my new friends’ houses. Sometimes we were looked at as weird or annoying, but in the end, we didn’t care. We just acted like we did, whether others liked it or not. We had a great year together. I think this story matches nitzachon perfectly. It shows my friends and me getting through a challenge, and that’s exactly what nitzachon is.

By Julianna and “Anonymous”: Camp has upsides and downsides. Sometimes you can get carried away by the downsides and it can be hard to enjoy yourself. But like our counselors say, “if you can’t get out of it, get into it!” And that’s what nitzachon is all about — pushing through a challenge. Homesickness is inevitable. However, it’s harder on some people than others. For me, it was even harder than trying to say “nitzachon” — I have even had several breakdowns. I’m here though, so I’m trying to make the most of it, and I’ve mostly succeeded. Camp really has been the perfect chance to learn how to push through a challenge, and I’m grateful for this opportunity.