Thursday, May 3, 2012

Camping with Observant Jewish Scouts (Part 1: Schedules)

I came across a very helpful document that talks about some of the ways we as scouters can accommodate the beliefs of Observant Jewish Scouts.

Shabbat is the Jewish day of rest, and is observed from Friday evening just before sundown until Saturday evening.

Plan to arrive at the campsite early enough on Friday that you can setup camp, perform meal prep, and do any other activities prohibited during Shabbat before sundown.

If your troop divides up chores among the scouts, make sure that the Jewish scouts chores are ones that can be done before or after Shabbat, to make up for the fact they cannot perform many activities during that day.

Menus, Schedules and activities should be discussed among the scouts before the trip, to ensure that activities done during Shabbat are all things that the Jewish scouts can participate in.

Also, be sure to have all bathroom facilities lighted before dark on Friday, as these scouts would be unable to turn on the lights during Shabbat.

Prohibited activities:

  • No fires may be lit or extinguished on Shabbat. If fires are set before Shabbat, they are to be tended properly and allowed to burn out on their own. Please maintain proper fire safety rules for your area. [Note: I'm not sure if this prohibition applies only to the Jewish Scouts or to the entire group, but I think other group members could start/tend a fire.]
  • Flowers and leaves may not be picked. This applies even if vegetation has fallen off by itself.
  • No Scout knots may be tied or untied.
  • Writing of any kind is forbidden.
  • Cutting with scissors is forbidden
  • Musical instruments may not be played.

Suggested activities:

  • Nature Hikes
  • Kim's Game - see appropriate G.S. publication
  • Skits - use Award handbooks as resource material
  • Songs
  • Try-Its, Badges and Interest Projects
  • Scouts Own
  • Show and Tell
  • Chess and Checkers

Disclaimer: I'm not Jewish, and may not understand all the rules to follow here... If this is a particular concern for your troop or pack because you have observant Jewish Scouts, look to the scout's parents or religious leaders for more specific and detailed advice.

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