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October 21, 2010 - Image 44

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2010-10-21

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

feature

by Nate Strauss

inner transformation

BBYO Kallah provides support for Jewish spiritual journey.

Metro Detroiters at Kallah: bottom row, Ava Jacobs, Nicole Davidson, Rachael Goldberg, all

of Farmington Hills; Brandon Klein of Bloomfield Hills, and Alex Weiss and Jon Schiff, both of

West Bloomfield. Top row: Derek Wolfe of West Bloomfield, Maxx Achtman of Walled Lake,

Maddy Soltz and Alyssa Stone, both of West Bloomfield, Michael Niger of Farmington Hills,

Austin Goodman of West Bloomfield, Daniel Firsht of Bloomfield Hills, Josh Breuer of Farming-

ton Hills, Josh Morof of West Bloomfield and Nate Strauss of Farmington Hills

A

s a Jewish teenager, I worry
about school, extracurricu-
lar activities, homework,
walking the dog, and, of course,
sleep. During the summer, I have no
worries (well, I still walk the dog).
This summer, instead of sleeping till
noon and staying up until 2 a.m., I
chose to discover my Jewish identity.
I attended Kallah 2010, an inter-
national summer experience offered
by BBYO held for 19 days at Camp
Perlman in Starlight, Pa.

To prepare myself for Kallah, I did
a lot of thinking about who I was and
what kind of a Jew I recognized my-
self as. Yet going into Kallah, I was
still very confused. I had had a bar
mitzvah and was raised Conserva-
tive, but I couldn't be sure that was
what I wanted. Walking into Camp
Perlman on the first day, I was anx-
ious to get started on our spiritual
journey.
That spiritual journey anxiety
ended when I was awakened at 7:15

a.m. to prepare for morning services
by some guy from Ohio. Was I re-
ally the kind of Jew that woke up
so early to pray? Did I really want
to start my day with prayers I didn't
understand? These questions swirled
around in my head. I couldn't make
any sense of them. I was scared for
what I had gotten myself into.
But, after getting used to waking up
so early, the "interesting" camp food
and taking cold showers, I completely
forgot about my spiritual journey. In-
stead, I learned about different Judaic
cultures, Jewish traditions, the Holo-
caust and even some Israeli dancing. I
took classes with incredible educators
about Jewish philosophy and Jew-
ish heritage. By the halfway point of
the program, I hadn't thought about
what kind ofJew I was. I prayed every
morning before breakfast, prayed ev-
ery afternoon before dinner and said
prayers before and after all meals.
Throughout my time at Kallah, I ex-
perienced so much. I met three kids
from Israel and a boy from Bulgaria
who told me all about their lives. I was
amazed by the adventure these teens
had taken to attend our program.
I also joined the Kallah-capella, an
a capella singing group. I love to sing
and joining this group allowed me to
release any stress from my day out
through song. We sounded very good
and we were all excited about the suc-
cess of our group.
During the last four days, every-
thing clicked. I was given the opportu-
nity to make my own tails. I tie-dyed

teen2teen staff •

my fabric and even learned how to tie
tzitzit. Wearing my tallis was amaz-
ing. I had created this sacred Jewish
symbol with my own two hands. We
also were given a siddur of our choice
to take home. I chose the Orthodox
prayer book because I felt that read-
ing from it was very cool.
While praying from my very own
prayer book and wearing my hand-
made tallis, I realized who I was. I
was Jewish. It didn't matter what
type. It didn't matter how much I
prayed; I had made a spiritual jour-
ney during these 19 days that would
stick with me forever. I did stay Con-
servative, however.
On our final day, we put together
a show called Cafe Kallah. Many
acts performed as well as my sing-
ing group. The show lasted until 2:30
a.m. and was the perfect way to end
such an amazing few weeks.
Kallah was easily the highlight of
my summer. I would recommend for
anybody to attend. After I returned
home, my worries came back. Sleep,
dog and school. But this time, I could
tackle them with a new force inside of
me; a new force I could definitely get
used to.

Nate Strauss, 17,

is a junior at

North Farmington

High School.

hotline: (248) 351-5144 • kcohen@thejewishnews.com

Reporters I Chaviva Bluth, Molly Grossman, Avi Mendelson, Avielle Movsas, Stephanie Schulman (Akiva Hebrew Day School,

Southfield); Yona Isaacs, Gabriella Ring, Claire Sinai (Berkley); Nechama Tawil (Beth Jacob, Oak Park); Madeleine Gonte (Birmingham

Finding Common Ground from page TT1

Groves); Rachel Gorosh, Emily Schottenfels, Mara Stein, Rachael Vettese, Rachel Wein (Bloomfield Hills Andover); Abby Hyman (Bloom-

There was a strong feeling in
the room that next year the panel
should be broadened to include
other religions and races in an at-
tempt to widen the discussion and
further tighten the community. {

Emily Goodman, Helene Glickman, Rachel Goutman, Jessica Kahn, Rachel Klein, Andrew Milgrom, Maddy Soltz, Sara Weinfeld, Samantha

Zwick (Frankel Jewish Academy, West Bloomfield); Rachel Hollander, Ad Well (Harrison, Farmington Hills); Daniel Chandross (Hillel,

Farmington Hills); Mayer Schneider (home schooled); Robert Axelrod (Huron, Ann Arbor); Rachel Berlin, Sam Gringlas, Elie Neuman, Nate

Strauss (North Farmington); Rob Pasick (Novi); Jordana Hoffman (Oakland Early! College, Farmington Hills); Lily Grier. Liza Kohlenberg

(Orchard Lake Middle, West Bloomfield); Liz Nagle (Walled Lake Western); Jennifer Finkel, Abigail Jankelovitz, Heather Rosenbaum (West

Bloomfield); Liza Kohlenberg (West Bloomfield Orchard Lake Middle School); Mackenzie Coden (West Bloomfield Walnut Creek)

Photographers I Jessica Avery Polk (Frankel), Colton Graub (Cranbrook-Kingswood )

supervising staff

Chief Operating Officer I F. Kevin Browett
Editorial Director I Robert Sklar
Executive Editor I Keri Guten Cohen

Rachel Gorosh, 15,

Is a sophomore at

Bloomfield Hills

uwalgiNf llsiA

field Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood); Mad Cohen (Community, Ann Arbor); Emily Zussman (Detroit Country Day, Beverly Hills); Polina Fradkin,

Creative Director I Deborah Schultz
IT Director I Deanna Spivey

Teen Consultant I Jon Layne

Jewish Renaissance Media — 29200 Northwestern Hwy., Suite 110, Southfield, MI 48034

Andover High

Moderator mop from 95.5-FM asks Jewish

School.

student Alex Wolf what comes to mind

when he hears the word Chaldean.

TT4 teen2teen October 21.2010

r

Jewish
Federation
of Metropolitan Detroit

ALLIANCE FOR
JEWISH EDUCATION

Supported by a generous grant from
the Stephen H. Schulman Millennium Fund.
AJewish Renaissance Media publication © 2010

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