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August 27, 1993 - Image 12

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1993-08-27

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

oly Aleph, Betman"

With the help of a cartoon character, students get
a head start learning Hebrew.

LESLEY PEARL STAFF WRITER

Having fun at
Camp Betman.

a na na na na na na na
na da na na na na na na
na na BETMAN!
o, it's not a
print, but instead a
character developed by
Californian Joel
Grishaver. Betman
teaches Hebrew to
youth in a series of
books put out by Torah
Aura Productions. With
the approval of Mr.
Grishaver and his partner
in writing, Ira Wise of
Temple Emanu-El, the
B'nai Israel branch of
Congregation Shaarey
Zedek has turned the car-
toon character into a camp.
Camp Betman, complete
with capes and a Betcave, is
an eight-day, intensive
learning camp run from
Aug. 16 - 25 for youth enter-
ing the first and second
grades.
The brainchild of Harlene
Appelman, national consul-
tant on family education
and director of educational
services for the Agency for
Jewish Education, Camp
Betman enrolled 60 stu-

,..

dents in its first year.
According to Michael
Wolf, director of education
and youth for the Shaarey
Zedek branch in West
Bloomfield, Camp Betman
is a "smart start to Hebrew
learning."
As the campers roll in
between 9 and 9:30 a.m.,
clad in red-and-black
Betman T-shirts, Mr. Wolf,
along with assistant, Toby
Bello; songleader, Jeff
Levin; and about 15 high
school and college coun-
selors, starts the morning
with prayers, singing and
dancing (complete with
"shoobie do wops"), and the
blowing of the Shofar (the
program is being run during
the Hebrew month of Elul
— the 30 days of learning
prior to Rosh Hashanah.)
Together, campers and
counselors, form Hebrew
letters with their bodies.
And before the grades break
into separate groups, the
campers get an opportunity
to try to make Mr. Wolf
laugh. Sometimes, they're
successful.

From morning until 3:30
p.m., the campers are con-
stantly involved in activities
which reinforce their knowl-
edge of the alephbet and
various words. They design
plastic bracelets and pins
with Hebrew letters, aleph-
bet books — personalized
with glitter and paint-mar-
bleized covers, picture
frames with a Polaroid of
themselves, and flags as
centerpieces for the Shabbat
family dinner.
Within the various class-
rooms, games like Twister
and Don't Break the Ice
have been modified to inte-
grate Hebrew content. In
Twister, the colored spots
on the plastic-playing board
and spinner have Hebrew
letters added. It's no longer

"right foot blue," but "yad
smol (left hand) aleph."
Baseball and other out-
door activities are conduct-
ed across the road at Green
Elementary School.
However, the real treat
for most of the campers is a
trip to the Betcave.
A zip-up tent housing Mr.
Levin in Bet glasses
becomes the opportunity for
campers to test their knowl-
edge, identifying letters and
words, and receiving Bet
stamps on their black nylon
capes.
"I like Hebrew the best,"
said Jeremy Pappas, a 7Y-
year-old from Farmington
Hills. "I like to learn to
read. And I'm one of the
best. I've got two hard
BETMAN page 14

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