By Emma Sass
There’s a very holistic idea in Judaism to which I relate brought down to me many years ago by a truly incredible mentor and tzaddik, Rav Avraham Twerski. It was this: the fundamentals of what we have to do in this world, is partner with G-d and quite simply, “to make man.” OR MORE INCLUSIVELY, TO MAKE HUMAN BEINGS. The deeper implications of that concept are how we choose to live our lives, work alongside each other and our creator, and via positive actions, become b’tzelem elokim “like” G-d.
Camp Shutaf’s August program – a part of Shutaf Inclusion Programs in Jerusalem, for children, teens, and young adults, with and without disabilities – is one way of “making (hu)mans,” inclusively-minded and caring individuals, learning to behave in a way to become a true ben adam, somewhere along the right path of coming closer to G-d.
The word Shutaf itself actually means partnership and that’s what it is; partnering with each other to learn and understand that while we’re all very different, we’re all actually exactly the same in His eyes.
My 9 year old son Golan went to Shutaf this summer. I had absolutely no idea what he was going to do for August. There was no chance our family would take a vacation during that time and neither my husband nor I were able to take off any long-period of time from work. My younger kid was booked into a gan-style camp (wonderful for his age) but for Golan I was completely at a loss. You see, at this age, a backyard camp run by a few 13-year-old boys for a few hours in the morning – great though that is – just doesn’t cut it anymore. He’s older, has waaaaayyy more energy and literally doesn’t stop bouncing around. And so the Jewish mother guilt of “I’m failing him,” set in.
Truthfully, even if we could afford some fancy shmancy hotel somewhere or a massively expensive sleepaway camp, or (I wasn’t working) day trips I wouldn’t be thrilled! Because I have personal limitations in that I only drive around my home area, the Gush. And once you’ve done the three or four activities here (which are always crazy mobbed) you’re left with, well, nothing really.
I figured he’d go to the school camp (thank G-d it was available for third graders for the first time this year), a backyard camp for as long as they had one and then, well nothing. Lots of iPad. Which by the way, makes this sweet, awesome little boy… CRAZY. Because all he wants to do is run around.