The Shabbat of Greatness

A “Great” Shabbat?

Every year on the Shabbat before Pesach, I give a Shabbat HaGadol drasha on (what I hope is) a compelling topic relating to the holiday of Pesach.  Over the last several years, we’ve studied the ‘four sons’ in depth, as well as other Mitzvot and customs of the Seder.  But often overlooked, in both my own speeches and others, is the status of this Shabbat itself – the “Great Shabbat”, Shabbat HaGadol.  Why, exactly, is this Shabbat so great?

Rabbi Yaakov ben Asher, in his classic Halachic work, the Tur, explains:

The Shabbat before Pesach is called Shabbat HaGadol, the Great Shabbat.  The reason for this is that on this Shabbat, a great miracle occurred.  On that first Pesach celebrated in Egypt, there was a special commandment to set aside a lamb for the Passover sacrifice on the tenth day of Nissan (four days before the sacrifice was actually brought), as the verse states: ‘In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to their fathers’ houses, a lamb for a household.’  The people of Israel left Egypt on Thursday (the 15th of Nissan), and so the tenth day of Nissan fell on Shabbat.  On that Shabbat, each Israelite family took a lamb and tied it to the legs of their bed.  When the Egyptians asked them why they were doing this, the Israelites answered: ‘These lambs will be slaughtered as a Passover offering according to G-d’s command.’  Hearing this, the Egyptians ground their teeth (in anger), for the Israelites were planning to slaughter lambs, which they considered to be gods.  But the Egyptians were not able to protest.  Because of this great miracle (that the […]

By |April 2, 2020|

The Lulav Jews: Rediscovering Pride in Modern Orthodoxy

Orthodox Lite?

For as long as I can remember, anxious leaders and thinkers in our community have been asking the same question: can our community – the Modern Orthodoxy community of America – survive?  But in recent years, as the broader American population has become increasingly polarized in its political and cultural views, “centrist” orthodoxy seems, more than ever, to have lost its luster.

Numerically, the Modern Orthodox make up only 3% of American Jewry – perhaps 175,000 Jews altogether – a number which has remained static for some time, and which is far smaller than the growing Yeshivish and Chassidic communities.  Some of our children leave Orthodoxy altogether – an all too common, and painful, phenomenon – while others join the Yeshivish community, which also weakens the community they leave behind.  Finally, many of our most dedicated young people make Aliyah, a source of great pride for our community, but one which deprives American Modern Orthodoxy of its most passionate and idealistic future leaders.

But beyond numbers, the more significant question is whether there is a compelling reason to remain a part of this community altogether.  Why, exactly, would one choose to live their life as a Modern Orthodox Jew?

The financial pressures that go hand in hand with Modern Orthodoxy, with yeshiva day school tuition at the top of the list, are enough to make many people think twice before joining the community.  Compared to public school, or even right wing yeshivas, the costs are astronomical.

And in return, what do we get?  Though we enjoy schmoozing with our friends at Shul, the Tefillah experience itself isn’t exactly inspiring, to put it kindly.  Lacking the passion and joy found in many Chassidic communities, many adults join their […]

By |October 16, 2019|

Zoo week in the sunflower class camp

We celebrated Mazali’s birthday by baking pink cupcakes, making her a Jewelry box and birthday crown. We sang happy birthday and ate the delicious cupcakes.


For our animal theme this week the children enjoyed playing with the farm house toy animals and sand old mc Donald with animal puppets.

The children glued loose parts on their fish. They also glued on black and white foam paper on to a plate and made zebra masks.

The zoo came to visit camp. The children got to hear facts about the animals and touch some of them.

The children ate teddy bear graham cookies for snack in honor of Zoo week.

The children love using their imagination while playing with their friends.

Riding bikes,scooters and bouncing on bouncy balls is a good way to work on our gross motor skills.

The children squished their hands into shaving cream during water play. They used sponges to wash cars and spray bottle to clean it off. They cooled off with a ices treat.

The children used animal foam shapes and painting outside with foam paint. It was fun to wash out hands off in the water table and watch the water change colors.

For our zoo theme week we made a snake out of beads. The children are so good stringing the beads onto the land yard.

Play dough time

We had a camp wide Shabbat with Rabbi Mischel. We sang Shabbat songs while listening to the guitar. We lit the candles ,drank grape juice,ate challah and had a special Shabbat treat.

Summer went by so fast. We all had a blast. We will miss everyone. Hope to see everyone for Camp Cochavim 2020.

Shabbat Shalom,

Morah Blimie, Hannah and Emunah


By |August 14, 2019|

Beach week in the sunflower camp class

The children really enjoyed art time this week. They made many beach themed projects. They glued fish onto a fish bowl and poured sand on to it. They poured different colored sand and made a sand necklace. They were so proud to wear their necklaces. They also made a beach in a bottle. Pealing and sticking on fish stickers to the bottles, pouring sand and sea shells into the water bottle really made us feel like we were at the beach.

In honor of our counselor Klilah’s birthday we baked a beach theme cake. The children measured, poured and took turns mixing the ingredients. We added blue food coloring to represent the ocean. We joined the sprouts class for a picnic birthday party. The children ate the delicious cake as well as an ice cream treat for our carnival day.

Carnival day was so much fun. The children jumped in the bounce house. Played all kinds of carnival game like ring toss. Took pictures in our photo booth and got their faces painted.

The children gave the lemonade drink for carnival day a thumbs up.

The children’s imagination grew during play time when they used the toy tools to fix the doll house. Reading stories, riding the scooters and bikes was enjoyed by all.

During circle time the boys shared their tzitut to make a bracha and kiss it.

During water play the children had fun squishing their hands into the blue food coloring that was mixed into the shaving cream. They washed toy cars with soap,water and sponges. The car wash has become a very popular game at water play.

For beach week we made moon sand. The children poured and mixed flour and baby oil into a container and […]

By |August 8, 2019|

Beach week at Sprout Camp

The children had a wonderful day on Monday celebrating beach week at sprout camp. We started off with water play and welcome to our new camper Boaz. It was cool outside today so the children enjoyed playing for a while at the water table, sprinklers and cars. Then we came inside to dry off and have our delicious snack together. After snacktime we went into the art room to paint a treasure box present for Ami who turned two on Sunday. We will celebrate his birthday together tomorrow. Since it’s beach week the children also went fishing in a mock fish tank with colorful rings made from a pool noodle. The children had a wonderful time scooping up the rings and catching them with wooden spoons and other utensils. We finished off the day in our exploration room where the children played with the sand table boxes of beans giggled together on the slide and played hide and seek in a tent. We had a great day together. p

On Tuesday at camp we started off with water play, but filled the tables with liquid soap to make suds to wash the cars. We also had a fun time coloring the water with food coloring, to make green, blue, red, orange and yellow water. The kids had a great time playing with the suds and washing no cars and each other. Then we came inside to dry off and celebrate Ami’s Two-year-old birthday with a special treat of marshmallow rice crispy bars with sprinkles. The children really enjoyed singing to him and giving him a beautifully decorated tzedkah box that they made themselves. Then we made lemonade with the children since it’s beach week. The […]

By |August 6, 2019|

Sprouts camp, let’s pretend week

We had a great day today at sprouts camp where we started off the day at water play. The children splashed and cooled off from the hot summer sun. They had a great time playing in the sprinklers and blowing bubbles. Then we came inside for ice pops and snack 😊 Since it’s exploration week, we had the children do some dot paint on rainbow printouts and painted glue on the pictures to stick on the clouds. The children were also happy to have counselor Lilly back at camp. They had a wonderful day!

Tuesday was a hot day outside, so we started with water play. We took out the cars and made a car wash! They had a fabulous time together splashing in the cold water while driving cars! We decided to pretend we were bears today since it’s less pretend week in our so the children had apples and honey for a snack. We had a great time playing in the exploration room in the afternoon with the sand table and buckets of dried beans.It was a great day at camp,

The children had a fabulous day at camp on Wednesday. We started off in the shade of the playground. The children played with balls and chalk and bubbles and had a great time. Then we moved over to water play to cool off from the very hot sun today. We kept the cars outside for the children to play with and they love the idea of the car wash they splashed in the water and sang songs and blew bubbles together. Then we came inside for snacktime and enjoyed some quiet playtime with our classroom toys and books. Since it was Wednesday we […]

By |August 2, 2019|

Let’s pretend week in the sunflower camp

The children used their imagination to make their own pictures out of colored sticks. Some children said they made a boat,dog and even a cake. They are very proud of their art master pieces.

The children colored with brown markers and crayons and stuck stickers on to a plate to create their own bear masks to go on our bear hunt.

The children had an amazing time at imagine that.

Playtime, story time and riding bikes is enjoyed by all. It’s a great way for the children to use their imaginations. During bike time the children take turns filling the bikes up with gas and even pretending to change tires.

The children sit so nicely and sing loudly while we say our tefilah by circle time.

During water play the children played car wash. They used sponges and shaving to wash the cars and used buckets of water and sprays bottle to wash them off. Some children drove their cars through the sprinkles. The children enjoyed a special ices treat.

The children’s imagination grew as they played in the playground. Some children collected sticks,rocks and soil to make a bonfire. While others used soil and acorns to make pretend cupcakes.

It was amazing to see their creations made out of legos. Some children made cars, dogs, and even a cowboy woody.

The children made a special Shabbat treat. They measured and poured out the Rice Krispies and mixed in the marshmallow fluff and sprinkled the top with colored sprinkles. It was so delicious to eat with our Shabbat grape juice and challah.

Shabbat Shalom,

Morah Blimie, Hannah, Emunah

By |July 31, 2019|

Sprout camp Dance week

On Monday the children had a wonderful time playing outside in the hot summer sun at our water tables and sprinklers. Some of the children got so hot they decided to get in the water buckets together and go swimming! Then we came inside to dry off and have our snacks. Since the theme is dance week at camp, We danced around to some great songs like Old McDonald, Head Shoulders Knees and Toes, and Shake your Sillies Out while we played all different kinds of instruments and sang together! The children had a wonderful time dancing around to the music together.

Since it was cold outside, on Tuesday we decided to bring the child to the playground. The children had a great time dancing around and popping bubbles to the music on the blacktop and playing hopscotch on the pictures we drew with chalk. Then we came inside for a snack and afterward we went to the art room for dancing feet and paint project. The children get their feet in colored paint and walked across a canvas. They love the feel of the soft squishy WetPaint between their toes and they left and jumped in the paint creating a beautiful mural for our room. We had a very busy day today.

On Wednesday we started off the day with our usual water play to cool off from from the hot summer sun. Then we came inside to change and dry off for snack time. After snack, the children were so excited to have Miss Amy the music teacher visit our school to sing songs and dance. The children had a wonderful time dancing around and singing to the music with beanbags. After we danced […]

By |July 26, 2019|

Dancing feet week at camp in the sunflower class

In honor of dancing week Morah Amy came and danced with us. The children followed her directions so nicely. They all laughed and smiled and enjoyed dancing. The children enjoyed putting bells on their feet and hands to make music.

During water play the children dipped their feet into paint and painting with their feet on paper. They laughed as the paint felt squishy between their toes.

The children practiced their balance and coordination while using their hands and feet to walk across the board.

Playing with friends is always more fun. We love playing outside on the slide and coloring with chalk.

We celebrated Shabbat with Rabbi Mischel singing songs, playing guitar and dancing. Drinking grape juice and challah was so delicious.

Shabbat Shalom,

Morah Blimie, Hannah, Emunah

By |July 26, 2019|

Camp Sports week in the sunflowers

We started our sports theme week by riding on bikes and scooters playing ring toss and throwing bean bags into the hats. We jumped from hoop to hoop to get threw the obstacle course. Some threw balls into the basket ball hoop while others rolled the balls to their friends. Bouncing on the bouncy balls was so much fun. Everyone took turns rolling the balls to knock down the water bottle bowling pins.

Coach Brett came for sports week and taught the kids how to play soccer. Everyone took turns kicking the ball and scoring goals. Everyone had such great coordination. When Coach Brett said red, yellow and green light we shook the parachute fast, slow and then we stopped. Everyone laughed and had such a great time.

The children took turns pouring the jello mix into a bowl and mixing it. They cut the jello in the shape of balls for our sports theme. It was so delicious to eat for a snack. We also measured out ingredients for Chex mix and poured and mixed it together. The children really liked how it tasted.

Making sports theme picture frames was enjoyed by all. The children peeled off and stuck on sports-related stickers to their very own frame.

Water play is one of the children’s favorite activities. They sprayed with a spray bottle and watered the plants. Running through the sprinklers and standing in buckets filled with water is a fun way to cool off on a hot day. The children loved the feeling of squishing their hands in the cold jello that was in the water table. Freeze pops were given as a special treat while we played outside. Pizza Wednesday is our favorite lunch of the […]

By |July 17, 2019|