Monmouth Torah Links in Morganville is sponsoring the establishment of a new Cub Scout troop that will enable youth to fully participate in Scouting activities in consideration of Shabbat and Jewish holidays.
The planned new troop is an outgrowth of a Jewish educational program the Orthodox outreach group has provided to Scouts pursuing merit badges in religion.
Its associate director, Rabbi Mordechai Eisenberg, said he was approached two years ago by David Meiskin of Freehold, a member of the Monmouth Council of the National Jewish Committee on Scouting for Boy Scouts of America. Meiskin asked Torah Links to help train Jewish members of local troops.
The Jewish Scouting badges “require a significant amount of education, which I packed into a six-week course, one hour a week,” said Eisenberg. “So far I have taught modern and ancient Jewish history, language, traditions, and current events relating to Jews to many dozens of Scouts from grades three to 12.”
It was a natural transition for Torah Links to pursue the sponsorship of its own troop, Eisenberg said.
“The majority of Scouts who go to classes for the Hebrew emblem also go to Hebrew school, but that doesn’t necessarily address all the elements the emblems represent,” said Meiskin, who is also an assistant Scout master and assistant Cub master in Manalapan. “The idea is for them to understand their heritage and how it relates to them.”
Two summers ago, Eisenberg was invited to participate at Forestburg Scout Reservation, a Boy Scout camp in upstate New York, where he ran services in the Jewish chapel. He looks forward to taking the Monmouth Torah Links troop to the camp, to connect with other Jewish Scouts from all over the country.
“We want to provide meaningful services to all ages in the Jewish community, and we would like Jewish children to take part in all programs their counterparts take part in,” said Rabbi Yitzchok Oratz, director of Monmouth Torah Links. “That’s what we’re all about — giving youth opportunities to learn, have fun, and connect with their Jewish identity and values.”
Boys in grades one through five and potential leaders who are interested in being part of a new Monmouth Torah Links Cub Scout troop should visit the Scouting information booth at a pre-Hanukka carnival on Dec. 18 at Shalom Torah Academy in Morganville.