The Covenant Grants

L’Hadlik: Igniting a Deeper Connection to Shabbat at Day Camps

Organization: Foundation for Jewish Camp, New York, NY

Grant Year: 2023

Project Director: Amy Meltzer

Type of Grant: Ignition

Grant Amount: $20,000 (1 year)


Arts and Culture

Foundation for Jewish Camp – To create meaningful and joyful Jewish experiences at day camps by training art specialists to facilitate and design Shabbat-themed art programs.

How did you identify the need for this program?

When we began to strategize about ways to support day camp professionals in deepening the “Jewish” at their camps, working specifically with art specialists seemed like an exciting new entry point. We chose Shabbat as a focus, because every day camp director I interviewed mentioned a Friday Shabbat ritual as a core part of their programming.

How will arts programming deepen camper engagement with Shabbat?

Our hypothesis is that campers will be able to think more about the meaning and values of Shabbat when they are introduced to these concepts in the art studio (or, to use the language of camp, Arts and Crafts.) They will have a chance to explore and play with their own interpretations of Shabbat joy, rest, and appreciation of creation with their hands and hearts, using paint, clay, pastels, and whatever other materials our specialists love to work with. The process of creating art will be one level of engagement, but the engagement will continue as campers share their work with one another, display their work for the camp community, and bring their work home to share with their families.

Share an example of a meaningful art project that’s Shabbat themed.

Imagine a group of campers reading the story of Creation in the art room. Over the course of a series of sessions, campers explore and create large collaborative murals that represent one of the first six days of Creation. These completed murals are displayed in the camp’s dining hall, with space below each mural for campers to add their own “commentary” in words and pictures. At a celebration of this new installation, families are invited to an all-camp Shabbat experience (and art opening!) and are invited to walk thoughtfully past each day of Creation en route to candle lighting. Families take home a packet of art materials and a discussion guide that invites them to work together to represent a feeling of Shabbat, and their works of art are combined to complete the installation with a new collaborative mural of Shabbat unveiled at the end of the summer. This is just one vision of what L’hadlik can help create.