Director’s Blog – August 3, 2019
LOUISE LENDS A HAND
In Jewish tradition, visiting the sick – Bikur Cholim – is one of the ways we humans are able to emulate God or “walk in God’s ways.” (Babylonian Talmud, Sotah 14a) We learn that when someone visits a sick person, 1/60th of the illness is removed (Babylonian Talmud, Bava M’tzia, 30b). It doesn’t cure a person to have someone care, but it does help them feel better. When we visit our friends, family or even strangers who are struggling with illness, we bring them comfort and strength. We let them know that they are not forgotten, not alone in the difficulty. For children who are sick, the need for love, caring and companionship can be even greater, but they may also be able to take comfort from things that adults might not.
Ari’s Bears is an organization begun by Ariella Stein, a Louise camper who this year died following two years of treatment for cancer. Evie, a friend of Ariella’s shared some thoughts with us today:
“The organization Ari’s Bears was started by a sweet girl named Ariella. Ariella was kind, funny, adventurous, and a warrior. She was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma (cancer in the bone) at the age of 9. Although she was faced with this enormous obstacle, she never let it stop her. She continued going to school, to dance, hanging out with friends even through her treatment. Every time she finished a treatment, she would earn points that she could eventually cash in for toys, gift cards, etc. Rather than getting something for herself, she would get Build A Bear gift cards. Ariella made bears to deliver to other children in the hospital to make them smile. This is what gave her the idea to create Ari’s Bears. Although she passed away in May, her legacy will live on through the beautiful organization she created. I know I, along with many people in this room, are so blessed to be able to call her our friend.”
Describing the origins of Ari’s Bears, her parents say this, “Ariella was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma in her leg at 9 years old. When in treatment, she received many packages and goodies from various organizations to get her through the tough days. This inspired Ariella to start Ari’s Bears, to give bears and other stuffed animals to children in hospitals. She has since hand-delivered many bears to children in local clinics and hospitals as well as mailed bears out of state.”
This Shabbat during Louise Lends a Hand, in addition to preparing 400 burritos which will be donated to the Thurmont Food Bank, about 50 campers made stuffed unicorns to donate to Ari’s Bears. Many of the girls who made unicorns went to school and dance with Ariella or through community connections are familiar with her family. Doing something tangible to share their compassion with another child serves not only the one who is sick, but gives well kids a chance to be the best version of themselves.
In a letter to us, Evie said, “Thank you so much for doing this. It truly is so meaningful to so many people and I am so happy to go to a camp with this level of community.”
Evie, we are so proud of our community too!
Alicia and Rabbi Elissa
Julia – Bunk 21
Emmy – Bunk 18
Yasmine – Bunk 20
Tory – Bunk 29
Ryane – Bunk 35
UNIT SPOTLIGHT – CITs
|Scrambled Eggs | Bagels | Berries||Cheese Quesadillas | Salsa | Sour Cream | Red Beans & Rice | Sauteed Veggies | Salad Bar | Pasta Bar||Turkey Meatball Subs | Fries | Broccoli | Cauliflower | Salad Bar | Pasta Bar|
High: 84°F | Low: 67°F – A day mixed with sun and rain and sun and rain!