Posted on May 22nd, 2016

Learning at Camp

We live our learning at OSRUI and with over 50 segel (faculty) members during the summer in more than a dozen sessions we do a lot of living. Limud at OSRUI is dynamic, experiential and fun for everyone from chanichim to madrichim. How does limud work at OSRUI you may be wondering? Every eidah has a period of time during the day dedicated to limud on their assigned topic. Topics are created by a segel committee which has devised a schedule for every eidah that rotates every 2 or 3 years depending on the eidah. Our limud grid has subjects for different age eidot and takes into consideration their emphasis. Our arts eidah, Tiferet, immerses themselves in Midrash, the Megillot and Sephardic Jewry. Our older eidot take on topics of leadership, our prophetic heritage and of course, Israel, while our younger chanichim look at Genesis, Middot and Kehillah.

We encourage our limud to leak into all parts of the day. If the limud topic is Israel, we plan Israeli food for the cooking chug and Israeli dance for an evening program. Some of our other topics for our older chanichim are not as concrete. When we study “Covenant and Community” with our high school eidot we have them talk in their living communities about rules that will help them live together and have a fun and safe summer.

We use puppets, costumes, food and whatever is at our disposal to help get our chanichim involved in our topics. We try to have experiential modes of learning at camp. Whether we are composting in our gan to experience teva or teaching Ivrit by playing a spirited game of SPUD and calling out numbers in Hebrew we try to infuse our time at OSRUI with as much Hebrew, Judaism, and love of Jewish camp as possible; while living our limud it gives us just the right amount of time. It’s only a month away until the magic begins, less than 30 days and everyone is counting.

Limud from the Hebrew root Lamed-mem-dalet to learn
Segel:  Faculty; Rabbis, Educators, Cantors, Youth Directors
Eidah:  Unit
Teva: Nature
SPUD: The person whose number was called catches the ball and then yells “Spud!” When he or she yells this, everyone must freeze. The person with the ball then is allowed to take three giant steps toward any player. He or she throws the ball and tries to hit someone.

Vanessa Ehrlich, RJE, is the Educational Director at Lakeside Congregation in Highland Park, Illinois, and serves on the segel (faculty) of Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute. She blogs at