When it comes to Kallah, I'm speechless. I don’t know if i’ll ever find the right words to capture that time of my life. Considering that I'm the writer I will do my best to describe that eventfulTime, and it may become a bit of a challenge. But aren't we all looking for one? Let's begin, shall we? International Kallah, the name of the program itself sounds emblematic. It has a certain sound to it, that you just don't hear every day. I mean for one, it's one of the only conventions that is not shortened. Also, it just sounds iconic, don't deny it. Now that we've discussed the name, I think we can move into specifics such as Chef Geoff's iconic food, or the mice around dorm 6, better yet the spooky walk up the hill. Well, maybe not that specific…
Upon my arrival at the B'nai B'rith Perlman camp, I was mind blown. I had no idea what to expect, as I had never attended any camp nor had I traveled in the US. There I was, in the middle of the woods surrounded by dorms, classrooms, common rooms, the Perlman letters, the Perlman tree. These places that meant nothing to me at the time, that I can now call my home.
Over the three weeks, I spent there I met more people than I could have imagined, made friends all over the world, had the honor of listening to some of the most impressive stories I'll ever hear, coming from the most inspiring people I'll ever know. I engaged in three Perlman Shabbats full of Shabbos Cake. One of these weekends was inspired by history, tragedy, and testimony of the luckiest and bravest people alive: Holocaust Survivors. I have learned the responsibility of our generation and that we have to tell the stories of those who can't anymore.
I have planned and attended inspiring events, that will forever stay in my memory of Perlman camp, I have walked on the grounds teens walked on generations ago and stood around the Perlman tree during Havdalah. I learned so much in these three weeks that my head hurts so much, even the wellness center couldn't fix it… If anyone asked me to pick a favorite moment from the life-changing journey that is Kallah, I would say every single one of them, they all shaped my memory of it.
Now let's talk about the part you actually came here for, what's Kallah about? Well, I'll tell y’all! (to quote every person from Texas I've ever met)
Kallah is about finding our Jewish identity. I was actually quite intrigued by that topic, as I was not really familiar with that concept. Because I wanted to learn more about myself I decided to attend, and in addition, I also got some of the Perlman magic everyone raves about. But most importantly I wanted answers to all of my questions surrounding Judaism. It's safe to say that I got the answers to my questions: there is no answer. That is the most important thing I have learned about BBYO. Everyone has a different opinion and who is to say that anyone of them is wrong? Or right? It's up to you, and only you. Which is why Kallah is about exploring Judaism for yourself. What I didn't understand then, is that people won't give you the answers, you have to find them for yourself. If that means getting out of your comfort zone, that's something you need to do, because every single person at Kallah is going through these moments and needs your support in order to support you. I wanted to share one last thing I learned at Kallah. BBYO is a lot of things, an international Network, a youth organization, some might even say a family. However, for me, BBYO means to support. It's a constant support system that will stick with you through everything. The same goes for BBG, our sorority that unites B’nai B’rith girls everywhere, as well as at Kallah, where I, alongside hundreds of teens, was initiated into the international order. That initiation, the memories and the friendships I’ve made at B’nai B’rith Perlman camp are things that we will always share, "But this is ours". "אבל זה שלנו"
Alix Gilkarov is a BBG from BBYO Austria.
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