Reading Torah at Camp and at Home

Eliana Mitzmacher

This summer will be my fifth summer at Camp Ramah Darom. I love going to Camp Ramah, where I get to hang out with my friends and do so many fun activities. Also, when we pray at camp, it is a lot of fun because we all sing the prayers together. I read Torah for the first and second times at camp on Shabbat these past two summers.

When I was first asked to read Torah at camp, I agreed to try. When I read in front of everyone at camp, I was a little bit nervous, but then I got the hang of it, and I was proud that I did it. That year, I needed my counselor’s help to figure out the trope. The next year, I decided that I wanted to read Torah again, because I remembered that I had done a good job reading it the year before. The second time I read Torah, I knew the trope and could work on learning my Torah portion by myself. So when I was asked to read Torah at home, I agreed to do it because I felt that I would be able to do it well.

Learning how to read my first synagogue Torah portions weren’t that difficult because of my camp experiences and because of the trope lessons that my day school class received. When I was learning my portions, I was able to apply the trope to the words easily. When it came time to read in front of the whole congregation, I felt nervous and excited, even though I knew that I could do it. I am really glad that I learned to read Torah, and it was such an honor to read Torah in front of the congregation, my family and my rabbis. Once I read the first aliyah, I didn’t feel nervous anymore. When people complimented me on my reading, I felt proud of how I chanted my Torah portions. I felt extra proud to be able to read in front of my parents and teachers.

Reading Torah at camp inspired me to read at home, because once I read in front of my friends at camp, I felt that I could read in front of the whole congregation in synagogue. When my ritual director told me that I read and understand trope well, I felt happy. All in all, reading Torah has been fun. I learned a lot about reading it over the years, and I enjoyed reading in front of everyone in synagogue. Now, I am working on learning two more portions, and I am looking forward to using the tikkun that was presented to me by the synagogue when I read Torah for the first time.

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