By Julia Berg
In my personal statement for my HUC rabbinical school application, I wrote that if I had to pinpoint the moment when I decided I wanted to be a rabbi, I would place myself at URJ Six Points Sci-Tech Academy. I have always been fascinated with Judaism through finding ways to engage with prayer, making other people understand the joy that Judaism can bring, and discovering how stories from a text like the Torah can be brought to life for people. Had Sci-Tech not been a part of my life, all of this still would have held true, but without Sci-Tech as a catalyst, I may have never found out it was my life’s calling.
When I told people about my job as a sports specialist at Sci-Tech, they often asked why I didn’t work at Six-Points Sports Academy if I loved sports so much. But little did they know how much the added layer of science and technology enhanced the position. Most kids who attend Sci-Tech do not go to spend their time playing sports for a whole session. Rather, they would prefer to launch their own rocket, design a video game from scratch, 3D print something completely from their own imagination and make friends with people who feel the same way. Being able to reframe the way that we play sports at camp was half the fun. Along with my co-sports specialist, I wanted to make sure that campers and staff , who generally are not engaged in sports, could have fun moving their bodies and staying healthy while in this innovative, Jewish community. So we pulled from Jewish values in everyday life and incorporated science and technology as ways to learn about sports. My personal favorite was the use of statistics to build an NBA basketball team.
Sci-Tech was the place where I found out that I could spend the rest of my life finding ways to engage people in Judaism in ways that made the most sense to them. I think that is something beautiful about Judaism; you can make it your own personal experience and at the end of the day come back to a Jewish community full of people who not only want to preserve Jewish tradition, but also innovate tradition to make it applicable and engaging to more lives.
Julia Berg was an athletics specialist at 6 Points Sci-Tech East during the summers of 2015 and 2016. She has recently been accepted to the Hebrew Union College Rabbinical school.