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NH woman carries on a Jewish Girl Scout tradition

PORTSMOUTH - As the Girl Scouts of America celebrates 101 years as an organization, a local volunteer is helping to carry on the tradition she practiced as a girl.

Isabel Danforth of Exeter is leading a Girl Scout Shabbat celebration at Temple Israel in Portsmouth this Saturday, beginning at 9:30 a.m.

Three things will distinguish Saturday's service from a regular Shabbat, Danforth said, including the "Drash," or reading from the Torah.

This week's reading is from Leviticus, and Danforth will relate it to scouting. Danforth said the Book of Leviticus is full of rules and rituals, making it easy to tie-in with Girl Scout law.

Girls and adults wearing their Girl Scout pin or uniform will receive a Girl Scout Shabbat patch distributed by the National Jewish Committee on Girl Scouting, Danforth said. The service will end with a closing hymn, which will be sung to the tune of "Make New Friends," a traditional Girl Scout song.

After the service, a traditional "Kiddush," which, in addition to featuring traditional Jewish food, including Challah, will offer another staple: Girl Scout cookies.

Danforth said that, as with any service at the synagogue, the Shabbat is open to anyone who would like to come.

Growing up as a scout, Danforth said, Girl Scout Sunday was a big deal in places of worship across faiths, and it was a tradition she wanted to continue as an adult Girl Scout leader and volunteer.

She held Shabbats in Connecticut, where she lived for many years, and continued the tradition in New Hampshire when she retired here in 2007.


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