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Jewish Scout Law and Promise

“The Scout Oath and Law are our binding disciplinary force.” (Baden-Powell)
Rabbi Judah Ben Tema said, “Be bold as a leopard, light like an eagle, swift as a deer, and strong as a lion to do the will of your Father in Heaven.” (Pirkei Avot 5:20) .

The Maharal from Prague explains that a progression is described here:
1) Be tough-minded like a leopard in deciding to do a Mitzvah, without fear of public opinion. 

2) Be light like an eagle to take action, so as not to remain in the arm chair, a body at rest dreaming of noble things.

3) Be swift as a deer to approach the Mitzvah quickly dodging and dissuading voices from within and without. 

4) Finally, to be strong like a lion to complete the task as a lion that consumes its prey.
The Law and Promise of the Tsofim Yehudim are those of the Swiss Scout Movement (MSdS) supplemented by a specific article for Jewish Scouts. The First Commitment is that of the Swiss Scout Movement (MSdS).

TY_SCOUT_PROMISEJewish Scouts Promise Lapel Pin

The Jewish Scout Law

As scouts, we want to:
Be true
– Listen to and respect others
– Be aware and help those around us
– Share
– Make our best possible choices and commit ourselves
– Protect nature and respect life
– Confront difficulties with confidence
– Enjoy everything beautiful

This Law connects us with all Scouts worldwide.

As Tsofim Yehudim (Jewish Scouts in Hebrew), we want to better understand what means for us in our daily life:

– Zachor (Memory)
– Mishpara (Family)
– Har Sinai (Covenant)
– Ivrit (Hebrew)
– Israel

 

The First Scout Commitment

“I want to make my commitment to my Tribe and my Clan, and do my best to live by the Scout Law. I ask you all to help me.”

 

The First Commitment Ceremony
After some months of successfully participating to scout activities, a welcoming ceremony for newcomers to the Shevet (Scout Tribe) is organized during a week-end.

The scouts are gathered in clans, in impeccable uniforms.

The Law of Tsofim Yehudim is recalled at the beginning of the ceremony, each article being told by a scout having made his/her Promise.

Then the newcomers in the Tribe get out of line, make their first scout salute while pronouncing their First Commitment:

“I want to make my commitment to my Tribe and my Clan, and do my best to live by the Scout Law. I ask you all to help me.”

The Shevet Leader steps forward and slips them the green Scout Shoulder Loops into the epaulettes of their chultsa, then puts the Tribe’s neckerchief around their necks.

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Then it’s the turn of their Clan Leader to step forward to hang their Clan Shoulder Knot at the left epaulette of their chultsa.

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To close the First Commitment Ceremony, the Shevet Leader calls the moto of the Tsofim Yehudim:  

  • Tsofim Yehudim, LeDor (Jewish Scouts, from generation)
  • the gathered scouts respond: VaDor! (to generation!)
  • the Shevet Leader insists: LeDor? 
  • and the scouts answer him as loud as possible: VaDor, VaDor, VaDor! .

Then everyone respects a moment of silence while waiting for the signal of the scoutmaster to break the gathering, to settle around the campfire.

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The Scout Promise
After one or two years of life with Scouts.

“With your help, I promise to do my best to:
– deepen the sense of our Scout Law
– develop the spiritual values of my life
– commit myself in each community where I live”

 

Scout Promise Badge & Lapel Pin
Two symbols visualize the Scout Promise:

1. A woven Badge (already sewn on the chultsa) with the World Scout emblem enhancing the universal brotherhood of Scouting.

2. An enamel Lapel Pin with the Jewish Scout emblem enhancing the Jewish Brotherhood in Scouting. “Jewish Scouts“ is written in the Scout national language, in Yiddish (a reminder of the Jewish people before the Shoah) and in Hebrew (the language of Israel).

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The Scout Promise Ceremony
An evening at the summer camp is the best time to made the Scout Promise. 

The scouts are gathered in clans, in impeccable uniforms.

The Law of Tsofim Yehudim is recalled at the beginning of the ceremony, each article being told by a scout having made his/her Promise.

The Scout who makes his/her Promise advances one step forward to read a little text that he/she has prepared related to the Scout Promise after the discussion he/she had with his/her leaders and godfathers.

Then the Scout pronounces his Promise making the Scout salute with his/her right hand as do all scouts making their Promise.

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1. Scout Salute:
“With your help, I promise to do my best to:

2. Then the right hand Scout Salute is touching the World Scout emblem sewn on the chultsa while uttering the following words:
Deepen the sense of our Scout Law
Develop the spiritual values of my life

3. Finally the Scout makes the Scout Salute with these last words:
Commit myself in each community where I live”

In France, Shevatim (Tribes in Hebrew: Shevet sing. / Shevatim plur.) make him/her hold an angle of the scarf of his/her Shevet with his left hand, while he/she makes the Scout Salute salute with his/her right hand.

The two other angles of the scarf are held by his/her two « Promise Godfathers ». The Godfathers of Promise will follow him/her during all his/her years in Scouting (and even after).

Cérémonie_promese

Then the Shevet Leader pins the Tsofim Yehudim Promise Badge on the flap of the left pocket of his/her chultsa (shirt/jumper in Hebrew), then greets him/her with his right hand Scout Salute while giving him/her a solid left hand shake: this is his/her first real Scout Salute!

Then the scout will greet in the same way every scout who made his/her Promise (or salutes the whole tribe). After greeting, the scout scout joins his/her clan.

To close the Promise ceremony, the Shevet Leader calls the moto of the Tsofim Yehudim:  

  • Tsofim Yehudim, LeDor (Jewish Scouts, from generation)
  • the gathered scouts respond: VaDor! (to generation!)
  • the Shevet Leader insists: LeDor? 
  • and the scouts answer him as loud as possible: VaDor, VaDor, VaDor! “.

 

Then everyone respects a moment of silence while waiting for the Shevet Leader’s signal to break the rally.

After the Promise Ceremony comes the time of a joyfull campfire. 

The Promise symbolizes the fraternal bond that has united Scouts around the world for over a hundred years.

Tsofim Yehudim, LeDor VaDor
Jewish Scouts, from generation to generation

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