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August 2016

David Gronlund-Jacob

Shalom Everyone. I am thrilled to be the new Religious School Principal here at Temple Rodeph Torah. I know I have big shoes to fill and I have some wonderful programs to continue. I am looking forward to this exciting opportunity. I am bringing more than 20 years of experience as teacher and a Jewish Educator. I plan to work with our clergy, teachers, parents, and students to build upon all of our Jewish understandings and learnings. As I write this letter I am at Berkshire Hills Eisenberg Camp in Copake, NY. This is a sleepy little town that comes alive every year the camp season begins. This is an opportunity for me to gain a different perspective on Jewish Education. This is a Jewish camp, but not in a traditional or typical sense. We do have a kosher kitchen and Shabbat has a different schedule from the rest of the days of the week. But we don’t have Hebrew names on the building and other than at meals we don’t pray every day. What we do have is a list of eight Jewish values that we encourage and reinforce in all of our regular camp activities. They are Yosher (Integrity), Kavod (Respect), Tikkun Olam (Repairing the World), Simcha (Joy), Gemilute Chasadim (Acts of Loving Kindness), Teva (Nature), Ruach (Spirit), and Divikute Chaverim (Connecting to Friends). Whenever a camper or counselor get “caught” doing one of these values they receive a rubber bracelet with the value printed on it. These are handed out to campers right after our Havdalah service. Many campers have the goal of receiving all seven bracelets in one summer. What a wonderful way to reward acting on our Jewish values. I hope to combine my traditional Jewish Education experience with my current camp experience so that together we can build an exciting and engaging Religious School for all of us. L’shalom, David Gronlund-Jacob

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