By Ben Diamond and Melanie Abzug
Tikkun Olam Specialists
First started in the summer of 2004, Tikkun Olam is our community service project here at GUCI to help “mend the world.” Each morning during Roll Call, all of camp gathers to sing three songs. The first is Modeh Ani, to give thanks to God for waking up to another beautiful day. The second is the Sh’ma, and the last is L’takein, better known as Dan Nichol’s the Na-Na Song. We begin L’takein by saying the English lyrics, together as one camp: “Blessed are you, Adonai our God, Ruler of the Universe, for giving us the opportunity to mend the world!” This opportunity is materialized in our session-long Tikkun Olam projects. Before campers arrived, staff had the opportunity to register with the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation, our way of doing Tikkun Olam during staff orientation. This session, we are working with Tindley Preparatory Academy!
Tindley Prep Academy is an all-boys middle school in Indianapolis that has an after-school program called the “Tiger Cafe.” During this program, the boys use fresh fruits and vegetables to cook their own food, and learn the importance of healthy eating habits in the process.
To help support the Tiger Café program, GUCI built eight garden beds to install at the school, which will allow them to grow their own produce. Anaf built the bed frames, Garin and Shoresh decorated them, and Geza brought them to the school during Yom Tiyul. Camp K’ton will be creating their own individual flower pots to grow their own personal plants to bring home.
We are very excited to be working with Tindley Prep! Using camp’s resources, we’ll be able to accomplish a goal that would otherwise be very difficult for Tindley to achieve on its own. And throughout the session, the project gives the opportunity for our campers to learn about the value of urban gardening, the Jewish principles behind Tikkun Olam, and to interact with people their own age from very different backgrounds.