A shul with Color War? The Young Israel of Jamaica Estates celebrated another year of energized youth programming with its 35th annual Color War! Beginning on Yom HaAtzmaut, three weekends of fun and games including YIJE’s Medutathon Relay, Bubble Ball, Laser Tag, and Minute to Win, complemented by art projects, dramatic presentations, and a chidon, all surrounding this year’s Pirkei Avos-inspired team names of Namer (Leopard) and Nesher (Eagle). “Both the eagle and the leopard are powerful creatures and express their power in different ways. But they also have their dangers,” writes Rabbi Dr. Dov Lerner in his charge to the teams. “Teams Namer and Nesher are called on to embody the positive traits of their emblem and discover their roles in Tanach, Midrash, and musar – and lessons for how we can live our lives today.”

The three-week program organized by YIJE Youth Director Jacob Herskowitz was highlighted by the annual community Lag BaOmer celebration, co-sponsored with the Young Israel of Holliswood. Centered around a bonfire and hundreds of friends, community members of all ages enjoyed the evening in Cunningham Park in a relaxed environment, with music and barbecue, as the Color War games continued in the background. Even the parents got into the fun as they assisted the kids in a 50-foot tug of war!

The Lag BaOmer event was sponsored by Lois and Lenny Brafman, who initiated the annual event more than 30 years ago, and the amazing medurah was built and maintained by Michael Warshaw. The three-week Color War competition culminated with a Shabbos luncheon for the kids with Rabbi and Mrs. Lerner, and an afternoon of final Shabbos events led by the YIJE youth department staff.

Both Rabbi Lerner and Jacob Herskowitz say they are looking forward to an inspiring Shavuos with learning opportunities for adults and kids alike throughout the chag. Please visit YIJE.org for the full schedule.