Interactive Tefilah in Garinim

Last week, adat HaGarinim was challenged to take the prayers we say daily during tefilah and turn them into an interactive activity. Once each kvutzah (group) received a prayer, they spent some time learning about what the prayer was about beyond just its translation into English. For this aspect of the activity, the hanichim were encouraged to ask our resident rabbis Rami and Derek any questions about the prayers. After learning about each of their prayers, the hanichim came up with an activity associated with their prayers that they presented to the whole Edah the next morning during tefilah.

In an effort to involve not only our minds and souls, but also our bodies into tefilah as well, here is what our hanichim came up with:

Modeh Ani: Since modeh ani is the first prayer we say every morning, it serves as a warm-up for tefilah and our day. Going with the theme of warming up, the hanichim decided to incorporate some jumping jacks into modeh ani, to get our bodies ready for tefilah!

Mah Tovu: Mah tovu is about how great Jacob’s tents are to pray and dwell in. Taking the idea of tents and creating a welcoming environment to pray in, the hanichim came up with a game to be played right before we say mah tovu. In this game, a number is called out and the hanichim have to form a tent with that many people. We played a few round before singing mah tovu in our “tents.”

Birkot HaShachar: This prayer is about thanking God for aspects and necessities needed to thrive on a daily basis. Our hanichim came up with and taught hand motions to each of the lines of this prayer so we now have a better understanding of what we are thanking god for!

Shema and Vahavta: The word shema means to hear, so the hanichim came up with a game that requires them covering their eyes like they would when reciting the prayer and hearing and following the voice of their counselors. For Vahavta, the hanichim taught the rest of the Edah hand motions that go along with the prayer.

The Amidah: During the Amidah, we take the time to stop and reflect during prayer. This is often challenging to do during our fast-paced days at camp. In order to prepare our minds, bodies, and souls for the impending reflection during the Amidah, the hanichim came up with a red light/green light type game where when someone says the word “machane” which means camp, we all run in place. When someone says the word “Amidah” which means stand, we take three steps back then three steps forwards and stand with our legs together as if getting ready for the Amidah.

Adon Olam: Adom Olam is a festive prayer that praises God. To accompany the cheerful nature of adon olam, the hanichim came up with a handshake to do throughout the prayer!

We are so excited to infuse these activities that the hanichim came up with in future tefillot for the rest of the summer!


Categories: Garinim
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