Why Pharoah Is Like The Kardashians

Jay Rapoport

Originally posted on the OSRUI Blog here



“Pharoah’s like the Kardashians – just likes a little drama in his life!”

I’m thinking in Hebrew. I find myself getting dressed for the day in the afternoon. Kids are showing up early for services.

I must be at Jewish camp.

This summer at URJ Camp OSRUI, I’m segel (faculty) for Tiferet, a program for budding artists. I wish I had gone when I was a kid! These middle school chanichim (campers) spend hours a day in studios pursuing their passion in music, dance, theater, visual arts or digital arts, under the guidance of talented specialists who are masters of their craft.


“When in doubt, dance it out. Think more about having fun and dancing your tuchus off!”


Our theme for Aleph session is Shemot Rabbah, Midrashim (rabbinic-era stories) about the biblical book of Exodus. We’ve explored how fan fiction and mashups pick up on this rabbinic tradition of using creative interpretation to explain gaps in the text. Chanichim have a chance to try out this process at every meal, as tables are dismissed upon crafting things like the origin story of mac & cheese or an 8-second ode to the rain.


We’ve brought a creative element to our morning and evening t’filot (prayers) as well – singing at the lake, writing our own lyrics to accompany the Barchu, and planning a literal physical journey through the service. In our second week, chanichim will begin to implement their ideas for t’filot, and studios will begin cross-disciplinary collaborations. I can’t wait to see what modern Midrashim our talented artists will create next!