Think about it: how many kids can say that their rabbi helped them catch their first fish?

Teach Like a Fisherman

Rabbi Benjy Brackman shows Sydney Mattei of Westminster how to place bait on her fishing rod

Yesterday as my role as co-director at CGI of the Rockies day camp here in Lafayette, I had the unusual experience of teaching a group of Coloradans how to fish in Estes Park. There I was a London-raised and Brooklyn-trained rabbi showing kids how to drop a line, place bait on a rod and other fishing techniques. Now, I should confess that these lessons were not taught to me in yeshiva or rabbinic school but rather more recently while fishing here in Colorado with my own children.

However I can only wonder what the people around us were thinking when they kept hearing the kids calling out, “hi rabbi can you help me with my worms” and “hi rabbi my fishing pole is tangled”.

I mean, think about it, how many kids can say that their rabbi helped them catch their first fish?

However this got me thinking.

If only we were able to infuse every Torah study and Jewish experiences with such hands-on lessons as fishing.

The reality is that this is precisely how Judaism should be taught.

Parent to child. – Teacher to pupil and rabbi to student. Hands-on experiences that give children lifelong lessons that they can use themselves and can turn around and teach to the next generation.

Unfortunately though, all too often kids walk away from years at Hebrew school never really digesting the information themselves, let alone to be able to inspire someone else.

The message for me was crystal clear: Teach like a fisherman.

As the popular saying goes, “Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime.”

Let’s become spiritual fisherman and feed the next generation with a lifetime of Jewish nourishment.

CGI of the Rockies is based out of Ryan Elementary school in Lafayette and continues through July 25.

For enrollment and for more information please visit or call 720-984-5805

CGI of the Rockies is a joint project of Chabad of NW Metro Denver and Chabad of Longmont.

Follow this link for photos of our fishing trip and other camp activities.

About Rabbi Benjy Brackman

Benjy Brackman is the Rabbi/Executive Director of Chabad of NW Metro Denver in Westminster, Colorado.

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