Inclusion

Inclusion

by Emily Gergen and Stephen Weitzman

According to Jewish tradition, the number three has special significance implying completeness and stability. Examples of this importance include the expression “and God blessed,” which occurs three times in Genesis; the word “holy,” which is recited three times during kedusha, the priestly benediction which consists of three sections; the three Patriarchs; and the three pilgrimage festivals.

Considering the power of three, we have been on the staff and faculty of Camp Chazak, the URJ’s camp for children who have social adjustment delays, for the past three years. As a result, we have directly witnessed tremendous spiritual growth and personal changes on the part of campers, regardless of whether they were new to the program or were repeat participants.

The Journal of Youth Engagement is an online forum of ideas and dialogue for those committed to engaging youth in vibrant Jewish life and living. Join the discussion and become a contributor.

By Lisa Friedman

When I first began my tenure at Temple Beth-El, I met David, a student in grade 5 with a significant learning disability and attention issues. Members of the Child Study Team at David’s public school suggested that David not attempt to learn a foreign language as it would be too overwhelming for him. This wasn’t acceptable to his parents, who wanted David to both learn and love Hebrew so that he could become a bar mitzvah.  We met David’s academic needs by individualizing his instruction, and his bar mitzvah was a highly meaningful experience.  But for me, this is where David’s story begins.  I always knew that David could learn Hebrew and become a bar mitzvah; we just needed to meet his needs appropriately.