Merage JCC Blog

Chanukah: A Sign of Our Times

Posted by: Mark Lazar on Thursday, December 1, 2016

One of the mitzvot related to the lighting of the Chanukah candles during this eight day celebration is the placement of the Chanukiah, the special menorah used. The Code of Jewish law declares that in the days of our ancient rabbis, the Chanukah lights were lit in the doorways that led to the public thoroughfare. Nowadays the candles are lit in the house, and if there is a window facing the public place, they should be lit there.” In the rest of world though, the placement is ...
Read More

Enrichments help shape the future

Posted by: Audra Martin on Monday, November 7, 2016

Fifth-grader Shahrez beams as he talks about his first business venture, a website “SBay Kids”. Designing and building the technology himself, Shahrez is already into audience development suggesting he created a site and product line that “attracts people”. “SBay Kids is named like ebay, I want people to come find things they like. I priced everything in the mid-range and selected items that I love then other people will love them too.” The website looks ...
Read More

Back to School: getting beyond “fine” and “good”

Posted by: Audra Martin on Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Here in the OC, while fall does not mean fall sweaters, it certainly does mean “Back to School”. Back to heavy-laden schedules and carpools, homework and school lunches, sports and Hebrew school. Back to the world of “fine” and “good”. Despite enveloping our kids in rich activities and fun, when asked “how was your day?”, universally we hear the seemingly requisite responses of “fine” and “good”. Amazingly our children ...
Read More

Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur: serious holidays with family fun

Posted by: Audra Martin on Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Rosh Hashanah deals with serious topics, like forgiveness and thinking hard about how to be a better person. It is also said to be a celebration of renewal and of the world’s birthday. In addition to the traditional family dinners and going to services, there are many ways our JCC families add fun and meaningful activities into their holiday traditions. Below we share just a few. Of course, apples and honey are the cornerstone of many families’ traditions. Rather than just picking ...
Read More

What Netflix has to Say about Jewish Camps

Posted by: Audra Martin on Thursday, August 4, 2016

In late July, Netflix revived the movie Wet Hot American Summer, turning it into an eight-episode series. The series, Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp, is a prequel to the original film and set during the first day of camp. When originally debuted in 2001, the film was a critical and commercial failure. Yet, thanks to its all-star cast of up-and-coming comedians and its 1980s-era soundtrack, it has achieved cult status. Many of the cast return in Netflix’ revival, including ...
Read More

Mitzvah: our kids and teens are making a mark on the world

Posted by: Audra Martin on Thursday, July 7, 2016

According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, fifty-five percent of our youth, 12 to 18 years old, volunteer each year. That rate is nearly twice the adult rate. Youth involved in religious activities are even more likely to volunteer. So, it is not surprising to see communities of Jewish youth traipsing around OC making a difference. Yet, it can still be a challenge to find a volunteer experience. Each year Congregation Shir Ha-Ma’a lot hosts its Mitzvah Launch, ...
Read More

When Learning is Fun

Posted by: Audra Martin on Monday, June 6, 2016

When Learning is Fun… Just because the school year is done, it doesn’t mean that kids stop learning. Sometimes creativity is needed to sneak learning into summer vacation fun. One of our Camp Haverim families shared what happened when they mixed math with ice cream: “Each summer, we ponder how to connect learning with 10 weeks of summer fun. Last summer we came up with an idea: find Orange County’s very best ice cream! What could be more fun than that? We’d ...
Read More

Jewish Summer Activities

Posted by: Audra Martin on Tuesday, May 3, 2016

For kids summer time is about fun and adventure. As the weeks seem to go on and on, parents wrack their brains for ways to engage our kids in creative and meaningful ways. Below are 18 everyday ways to have fun with your kids while exploring Jewish traditions and values. Cook challah together, add kid-friendly elements like chocolate chips, sprinkles or cinnamon sugar. Draw an Israeli Chutes & Ladders game board with a map of Israel and adding chutes and ladders and explore Israel. Finger ...
Read More

When Jewish Camp Matters

Posted by: Audra Martin on Tuesday, April 5, 2016

“Our goal should be to live life in radical amazement… look at the world in a way that takes nothing for granted. Everything is phenomenal; everything is incredible” – Abraham Joshua Heschel When Jewish camp matters Our contemporary lives are busy. Our kids are surrounded by American culture. A Jewish camp experience immerses our kids in Jewish experiences and friends. While our kids are running, playing, swimming, traveling, busy with arts and science and all the ...
Read More

Mah Nishtanah: How is Jewish Camp Different From All Others?

Posted by: Audra Martin on Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Mah Nishtanah: How is Jewish Camp Different From All Others? It is true, every single year for over 20 years, I have run a Jewish summer camp. And, yes, when I write about sending your kids to Jewish camps, yes, it will sound like I am advertising the JCC’s camps. Let’s face it, I am. A bit. But I spend every single summer at Jewish camp, because I believe in them. The JCC believes in them. We believe they are great experiences for your kids and we believe Jewish camp is an ...
Read More