Oorah regularly receives countless letters from grateful parents and children regarding any one of our various programs such as TorahMates, holiday events, TheZone, and ChillZone. We recently have been sifting through our archives and came across one such letter, that is more than a few years old, whose essence still holds true to this day. The sweet letter made us not only smile, but truly happy to be able to have such a sincere effect on a child. For this letter, all we do is worth it.
Here is a short excerpt:
Dear ChillZone head,
I am living in Atlanta and there is no ChillZone here. I really miss going to ChillZone. I miss the learning, dancing, the prizes, and all the smiling faces and the happiness in the air. It feels like you are soaring through the air. Whenever someone brings up a topic that can connect to ChillZone in any way it brings my neshama to tears to remember the happiness and joy before we moved to Atlanta.
ChillZone is a place where you can laugh, sing, play, see smiles on everyone’s faces, see old friends, rejoice, and much more. It would mean a lot to me and my neshama for you to make a ChillZone in Atlanta!
This precious message from a young girl who missed the ChillZone atmosphere after moving to Atlanta, has had such a deeply moving effect on everyone in the Oorah office. Thankfully, we have opened up a ChillZone in her new hometown since then, and this girl has been able to continue her love and growth in Torah together with all of her friends.
Many camps provide a fantastic summer for its campers, yet leaves them with only fond memories and sad goodbyes when summer comes to an end. The Zone, however, works at maintaining the relationships and inspiring moments found during the summer with ChillZone, Shabbatons, and Yom Tov events throughout the year.
We recently received the following email from a couple of Zone campers who are now in seminary in Israel that illustrate the powerful outreach of The Zone:
Dear our Oorah parents,
As the yomim noraim are coming to an end and seminary is on full ride now, we wanted to share a few thoughts. The zone has really prepared us for coming to Israel even despite the challenges . It has taught us how to find the right girls to befriend, get into the more serious schools and really just shown us how much you’ve always been there for us. Times here might get hard but we always know TheZone is never too far away. We just wanted to let you know with the zone as our background we were set up for an amazing, inspiring, growth oriented year. As we look at the girls around us , we see how lucky we are to have the zone to keep us connected. Our torahmates continue to inspire us over the seas so we never feel too far away. We look forward to the upcoming zone events, chillzone, and even hopefully to what this summer holds in store for us.
From your children in Israel,
C & I
We are so happy these girls feel able and ready for an inspiring year in Israel!
Just wanted to let u know how much chillzone has already enhanced our community just in the past 3 weeks.. It really is the first time in a long time that there are religious and secular girls in a room together and it’s just so special! One mother even mentioned to me that her daughter came home and said- it’s so much better than Sunday school.. I didn’t realize I could still be around Jewish girls and have a good time. Soo really just thank you Oorah for this opportunity
You may recall the letter we recently shared from the Heart sisters in Atlanta, begging us to open a ChillZone in their neighborhood. At the time, we really didn’t see how it would be possible, but in this line of business, you learn pretty quickly that nothing is impossible.
A short while after we got the letter, a staff member of TheZone from Atlanta, Adina Caplan, told us that she’d be home for mid-winter break and by any chance would we like her to run a one-time ChillZone while she was there?
Well, you can guess what we answered to that! The Hearts were true to their word and brought many friends along. As you can see from the pictures, everyone had a great time!
As a plus, none of the other girls who came were TheZone campers… or shall we say, have been TheZone campers in the past. Judging by their enthusiasm, there will be several new campers from Atlanta in camp this summer!
As Adina said, “next time (Pesach???), it will be even better!” Seems like the Someone is listening to those Heart girls!
How could we not share this beautifully touching letter from a couple of Chillers-at-heart in Atlanta?
Here are some highlights:
“… I miss the learning, the dancing, the prizes, all the smiling faces and the happiness in the air, it feels like you are soaring through the air. Whenever someone brings up a topic that can connect to ChillZone in any way, it brings my neshama [soul] to tears to remember the happiness and joy before we moved to Atlanta…. ChillZone is a place where you can laugh, sing, play, see smiles on everyone’s faces, see old friends, rejoice and much more…
It would mean a lot to me and my neshama for you to make a ChillZone in Atlanta please!!!”
Cancel ChillZone Brooklyn?! Well, you can try…
With heavy snow causing treacherous driving conditions across the East Coast a couple of weeks ago, many ChillZone programs were, to many children’s dismay, forced to cancel. But Elazar Wacholder, an Oorah volunteer, had a feeling that there would surely be some boys who wouldn’t get the update, so he made the trek to the Brooklyn ChillZone location at the usual time on Motzoei Shabbos. Sure enough, twenty boys and four staff members showed up.
Despite the frigidity outdoors, the Torah learning went strong and continued even longer than the usual time. As the boys were enjoying the hot food after the learning, Ariel’s* father told Elazar the most incredible story.
Read the story in the Yated’s Oorah column.
Trekking through a rare Jerusalem snowstorm to ChillZone.
Scores of boys braved heavy snow and freezing rain to make it to ChillZone in Jerusalem. Read more and see the photos in this week’s Yated Oorah Nachas Files