Yom Kessem – Harry Potter Shabbat!
By Sam Kazer, Communications Specialist
Did you know that some etymologists believe that the word abracadabra has Aramaic roots? Some think the word comes from the phrase “I create as a I speak” in Aramaic; however, there are dissenters and the true origin of the word is up for debate. Even if the etymology is unclear, J. K. Rowling, acclaimed author of the Harry Potter novels, has confirmed that she thought of the killing spell, Avada Kedavra, found in Harry Potter, by twisting the original Aramaic phrase in question: אברא כדברא.
Here at URJ 6 Points Sci-Tech Academy, we strive to make more connections between Judaism and Harry Potter with fun, engaging programming and by instilling an innate sense of ruach (spirit) into our campers.
Our morning started a little later than usual, with wake up at 8:00 AM followed by breakfast at 8:45 AM. After a filling and relaxed breakfast, camp participated in morning T’filah for Shabbat. On Saturday mornings we have Visual T’filah; instead of siddurim (prayer books or cards) to guide the service we project the blessings and songs for the service onto a screen accompanied with beautiful images of camp. Today’s Shabbat service was themed with one of camp’s core values, Sakranut (curiosity). Our 5th and 6th grade boys in Ramon 1 asked big questions about Judaism and Shabbat to accompany the service.
After T’filah camp was surprised by the Sci-Tech Sorting Hat. Dan, our Program Director, donned his Sorting Hat, sang the sorting song, and divided up camp into their respective houses: Griffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin. The Sorting Hat explained that in addition to points being awarded for demonstrating camps core values there would be three events during the day in which the houses could win points: Quidditch, Trivia, and a Defense Against the Dark Arts obstacle course. Led by their prefects (counselors), campers worked together to create their house banner and cheer after the explanation of the day.
Quidditch was played by all teams out on the field – the tournament was round robin style and each game split into two halves so everybody on each team would have a chance to play. Traditional Quidditch rules were followed (minus the brooms) including a golden snitch, which was carried by a jogging counselor. Slytherin came out victorious in the morning after six intense matches.
After lunch and menucha (rest period), the fun continued with classes at Hogwarts. Potions had our campers brewing their own dry-ice ice cream, teaching them about sublimation, the phase change from a solid to a gas. History of Magic tested our campers knowledge in both the worlds of Harry Potter and science/technology. Charms taught our campers how to do some magic of their own, namely the “glass through the table” trick. Lastly, Defense Against the Dark Arts had campers complete an obstacle course; the houses not only had to get past the Whomping Willow, but also lull Fluffy to sleep in order to retrieve the Sorcerer’s Stone.
The evening ended with celebration and merriment as the entire camp gathered to watch Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets with popcorn and butterbeer (made from cream soda and butter extract). Following the movie, we celebrated the end of Shabbat with a Havdalah service and headed to bed with the recent memories of the magic seen that day.