How summer fun speaks to Judaism

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We are so fortunate in Rhode Island. There is so much to do within the Jewish community this summer whether it’s learning, fun, play, health or just getting outside.

The Jewish Alliance has a complete list of synagogues and organizations in Rhode Island and most have a calendar list of events during the summer months. In the Jewish Rhode Island online calendar, several events are listed for Project Shoresh, Temple Beth-El in Providence, Temple Shalom in Middletown, Temple Sinai in Cranston and Temple Habonim in Barrington. Temple Emanu-El in Providence offers hikes and bike rides and Shabbat in the park.

Another great activity for physical and mental health and fun is dancing in the park.

Robin Harris, co-owner of the Arthur Murray Studio of East Bay, says, “We started doing ‘dancing in the park’ during the pandemic. Everyone brings their own chairs, drinks, snacks. We play music and just have fun dancing. We start later in the day and there has always been a nice breeze to keep things cool. Dancing just has a way to put you in a better mood. Over the years, many of my students have brought different articles to my attention regarding the fact that dancing helps prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia.”

There are some great summer activities for children discussed in the article in aish.com “Summer Fun: Simple Sensory Activities” by Adina Soclof. She writes, “Parents are scrambling for things to do with their children. Sensory activities are important for children, especially during the summer.”

She talks about sensory play using squishy bags, play dough, calming jars or glitter jars, foam, water play, finger painting, rice boxes, shaving cream, silly putty and stress balls. All these help develop language skills in the process.

This all supports our health and wellness. Michael Kaufman, Jerusalem author and lecturer who has published nine books on Jewish thought, writes about Judaism and health and fitness on aish.com in the article “5 Surprising Facts about Judaism, Health and Fitness.” This is excerpted from his book “Am I My Body’s Keeper? Torah, Science, Diet and Fitness – For Life.”

Kaufman’s five key principles are 1. You Are Your Body’s Keeper: Physical Fitness is Mandatory in Judaism, 2. “Cleanliness is Next to Godliness” is a Jewish Principle, 3. Exercise is the Best Preventive Medicine, 4. Movement During Jewish Prayer Was Designed to Exercise the Body and 5. You Can Extend Your Life – Actually Live Years Longer – by Eating Healthily and Being Physically Active.

There are so many activities that we can engage in during these summer months that can bring us connection, wellness, meaning and joy. Try a few for yourself. Happy Summer!

PATRICIA RASKIN, owner of Raskin Resources Productions, is a media host, coach and award-winning radio producer and business owner. She is on the board of directors of Temple Emanu-El, in Providence. She is a recipient of the Providence Business News 2020 Leaders and Achievers award.