Earlier this year Gilboa hosted its annual Fall Seminar. For those newer to Gilboa, Fall Seminar is an amazing opportunity for chanichimot (campers) to reunite and experience a fun and educational Gilboa style Shabbat together in the city. As a testament to the amazing summer 2019, this year’s Fall Seminar was one of the best attended in years - we had almost 60 3rd - 8th graders join us! It is a pretty great feeling to see almost 80 Gilboa kids and young leaders sharing a shabbat meal together. The energy was warm and boisterous and it was immediately clear how excited everyone was to see one another - friends from San Diego, LA, and the Bay Area were reunited!
Before you hear about how much fun it was, we want to make sure you know that Spring Seminar is coming up - March 20-22! Find more info and register HERE!
Besides continuing the amazing relationships built this past summer and forming new ones, the educational theme of the weekend was environmental justice.
After the traditional Friday night Shabbat meal and Rikkud (Israeli Folk Dancing), the group woke up Saturday morning (some of us quite early) for discussions about what it means for kids to get involved with and learn about environmental justice. It is always powerful to see kids as young as 8 speaking clearly about the need for our community to address climate change. It felt especially powerful given that the Gilboa teen social justice group, Tzedek, is actually learning about and getting involved with community environmental justice efforts.
As important as social justice learning is, Gilboa also means playing and having fun as hard as we learn. So after a morning of discussions everyone trekked down 3rd street for games and snacks in sunny Pan Pacific Park. And if you thought 80 Gilboa people in the Institute social hall was fun, imagine everyone spilled out over the lawn in Pacific Park - flying kites, playing tag, play cards, doing crafts, making silly music videos.
Lastly, it is important to highlight how central Kvutza is to the Gilboa experience. While the word roughly translates to “age-group” or “group”, anyone at Gilboa can tell you it means so much more. Kvutza is a group that plays together, works together, shares together. It is a group where we can build relationships that preempt a kinder and more just world. On Saturday evening we split into Kvutzot for chevrati activities (bonding activities) and it was a lovely way to end a beautiful weekend. Groups played games, explored some of the spooky parts of the Institute, and some of the older kids and their madrichimot even took a quick adventure outside!
All in all, it was an amazing weekend and we can’t wait to see everyone at Spring Seminar!
And if you are looking for a fun way to spend spring break, join Gilboa at the SIJCC for spring break camp, April 6-10!
As amazing and life changing as Gilboa can be, communicating what it is that makes our community special to prospective families is always a challenge. And in a world with more and more options for camps and youth programs, making a clear case for the value of a Gilboa experience is vital for the growth and success of everything we do.
Our Educational Outreach program brings Gilboa high schoolers and tzevet to communities across the state. What better way to demonstrate the value of a Gilboa experience than by seeing actual Gilboa teen leaders running programming?
The communities we have visited in the last 2 months include: IKAR, SIJCC, Temple Beth El Riverside, Temple Emanu El Redlands, TBI Highland Park, PJTC, Netviot Shalom in Berkeley, Shaar Zahav in SF, Dor Hadash San Diego, Adat Chaverim, PJ Library Orange County, and Sholem.
Tzedek (Gilboa's High School Program)
These days it can be hard as a teen to choose to be involved in community. There’s homework, social media, and more TV than ever to get through. And yet Gilboa teens are choosing, on top of everything else, to come together. Discussing, hanging out, leading, building, fighting for justice. Gilboa teens are a testament to the power of a Gilboa experience, and we are incredibly grateful and proud of their work with our educational outreach program.
In addition to developing their leadership skills working with kids and partner communities, the Tzedek program includes seminars and activism-oriented trainings and actions.
Here are reflections from Tomek (a Gilboa 10th grader):
At Tzedek seminar, our final peula of the weekend was about class in America, and the role of Tzedek in fighting class oppression. Probably the most tense part of the peula was when string was passed out and a statement was read (describing a mark of privilege) and if it applied to you, you were to tie on a string. During the string activity, many of my fellow members of tzedek felt compelled to be vocal about their relation to the statement that was read, possibly out of self-consciousness, although the activity was more or less anonymous.
When we finally put all the strings in the center of the circle, a wide range of string lengths were layed out. It displayed that some of us hired gardeners, some of us had scholarships to camp, some of us did not own cars, etc. We discussed how some of these characteristics changed depending on how urban or rural the area where you lived. As we discussed, consciousness (maybe stemming from self-consciousness) became the keyword, as we discovered the diversity of our backgrounds.
We also spent time breaking down the fundamentals of the class system, like what it means to be of the ruling, middle, or working class. The string activity showed how we all have commodities that we take for granted, and the class breakdown showed how difficult life is for the workers, while the elite have never-ending commodities. I came away from the peula very intrigued and provoked by class dynamics between individuals, and I know how important it is for people of different upbringings to stand in solidarity. I learned that it does no good to feel bad for having privileges, all that matters is to fight inequality the same as anyone else should and change will come.
The next Tzedek seminar is April 24-26 - details HERE or contact Josh for info - firstname.lastname@example.org.