The BaMidbar Miracle

By Moss Herberholz

The story of Hanukkah tells of a small group of Jews taking on the powerful army of Antiochus. Facing a seemingly undefeatable foe, the Maccabees persisted in their struggle until they succeeded in reclaiming Jerusalem from their Greek-Syrian oppressors. The theme of overcoming great odds repeats itself throughout the history of the Jewish people. Some other famous examples include King David’s defeat of the giant, Goliath, and Esther saving the Jews from almost certain annihilation at the hands of Haman.

At BaMidbar, this kind of challenge is not unfamiliar to our students. Students come to BaMidbar because they are struggling with depression, anxiety, and other obstacles that make it hard to find success in their lives. Although many of the challenges students face are internal, they are no less real than an invading force.

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Student looking up

At times these internal challenges can seem insurmountable. By deciding to enroll in a BaMidbar program, students take a stand against what seems like unlikely odds. Through their time at BaMidbar, students have a chance to resist the invading forces of anxiety and depression, and to learn what it means to fight through self-doubt in order to succeed. Many times I have heard students say “I can’t do it” when faced with a challenge like a big hike. And yet, at the end of a long day of taking one step at a time, the student is able to see that they have in fact accomplished what seemed impossible.

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Students at overlook

The Maccabees saw a miracle when the menorah burned for eight days, even though there was only oil for one day of light. BaMidbar students also experience a miracle of lights, as they find their light at the end of the tunnel, and rekindle hope and a belief in a bright and shining future. Students leave BaMidbar, equipped with new tools to battle their personal Antiochus. Our students show such courage as they meet life’s challenges head-on, with the newfound confidence, skills and community support to navigate and overcome adversity, while thriving in the face of life’s seemingly insurmountable challenges.

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Moss Herberholz,
Lead Field Guide & Communications Coordinator

Moss fell in love with the wilderness while participating in a 6-week educational backpacking program in California where he studied natural philosophy and nature psychology while being immersed in three diverse wilderness ecosystems. He has a BA in Psychology and a BA in Theater Arts from the University of California, Santa Cruz. He has spent five summers working with campers with special needs at Ramah in the Rockies, including two as the Director of Inclusion. Additionally, he has worked as a Jewish nature educator for Teva, a program of Hazon. Moss will be attending the Jewish Communal Leadership Program in the School of Social Work at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor beginning in Fall 2020. In his free time, Moss loves to dance, read, sing niggunim, identify fungus, and spin fire.

Hanukkah Sameach from BaMidbar!