Monthly Archives: June 2014

Gesher Update 2014 – Week 1

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Edat HaGesher had an incredible first week of camp beginning with a trip  to a local bowling ally. Chanichim  dressed up in costumes and had a great time. Breakfast outdoors (Bishul Boker) on Thursday was a true highlight. Not only did we enjoy great food but the chanichim prepared it all by themselves.

Thursday night the campers participated in a video scavenger hunt around camp; prepared for their first day of CIT’ing; and enjoyed a surprise “Gesher T-shirt reveal”. All the chanichim are busy organizing plans for the longtime tradition of Gesher leading the entire machaneh (camp) in Shabbat shirah (singing). As you celebrate Shabbat, think of your child with their edah, in front of 800  people conducting Shabbat z’mirot (songs).

 We hope your Shabbat is as exhilarating and powerful as ours will be at Ramah!

Shabbat Shalom,

Debbie Kruger, Rosh Gesher

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Machon Update 2014 – Week 1

This week was all about planning the best Machon summer of all time. We Imageplanned and ran a Masterchef cooking show called Masterchon.  Continuing with the food theme, the madrichim introduced  a sandwich making challenge.  Thursday’s  photo scavenger hunt offered a creative way of learning about the amazing peulot (activities)  offered this summer.  Combined with Maslool,  sports hug, creative arts, dance, theater, and terrific Judaic study seminars Machon is bound to be wonderful.  We will be studying all about technology in the modern world over Shabbat. 

Shabbat Shalom,

Jenni Sujka, Rosh Machon

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Bogrim Update 2014 – Week 1

Bogrim had a terrific first two days of camp! On Opening Day, the cloImageuds turned into bright sunshine as we welcomed shivim v ‘arbah (74) chanchim (campers) into the best edah in camp. After a delicious dinner, we enjoyed a crazy and fun series of relay races and challenges. Afterwards, we headed back to the tzrifim (bunks) for some bonding and sleep.

Yesterday was our first full day of camp and it was jam packed with sports, dancing and cooking. Bogrim is looking forward to spending Shabbat together as we begin to delve into our Edah’s Shabbat theme: Relationships.  In just a few hours we will gather with the rest of camp at the amphitheatre to bring welcome  Shabbat.

We are so excited to begin the summer!

Shabbat Shalom,

Gideon Weiss, Rosh Bogrim

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Solelim Update 2014 – Week 1

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Solelim had a fantastic first few days at camp!  All of the chanichim chose a sport hug  (team).  In addition, we had two incredible days of bechirot (electives) that included a wide range of activities such as soccer, costume design, al hagova (outdoor adventure), softball, omanut (art), radio, and basketball.

We had a great time with our Sole-swag song/rap battle, where each tzrif introduced  themselves  showing  terrific tzrif pride! We are also getting psyched for our first Solelim bike trip.

As we gear up for our first Shabbat on Machaneh Bet, we can’t wait to participate in Kabbalat Shabbat and Machaneh Bet shirah! Shabbat Shalom!

Zoe Grossman, Rosh Solelim

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Tzeirim Update 2014 – Week 1

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Tzeirim had a great first half-week of camp!  After unpacking, getting settled, and taking our swim tests, we learned our catchy edah song and played a camp trivia game.  On Thursday, we jumped right in to our regular activities.  For peulat erev (evening activity) we learned about all the cool things we get to do as the oldest edah on A-side and made tie-dye t-shirts.  After such a busy few days, we’re looking forward to Shabbat, during which we’ll have some time to hang out and get to know each other better while playing leadership games and learning about different Jewish leaders.  Shabbat Shalom!

Paula Sass, Rosh Tzeirim

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Shorashim Update 2014 – Week 1

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Kayitz 2014 is underway!  Shorashim is thrilled to be in camp and anticipating an incredible Shabbat.  Everyone quickly  unpacked and settled into their wonderful summer homes. Our edah ruach (spirit) was palpable as we jumped into the daily schedule with enthusiasm. Each peulat erev (evening activity) has been lots of fun. We focused on getting to know one another. What a wonderful first few days it’s been- we’re off to a great start!

Shabbat Shalom,

Rachel Engelberg, Rosh Shorashim

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Nitzanim Update 2014 – Week 1

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Kayitz  2014  got off to an incredible start as each smiling camper was greeted with cheers when they descended the stairs of the bus. After we spent some time   unpacking  and getting settled in, Nitzanim got right into the swing of things with swimming and sports as part of a fun filled first day.  Campers learned the Nitzanim song and got acquainted with each other by playing “human bingo” on Wednesday. On day #2, Nitzanim started their first full and busy routine daily schedule. This is going to be the summer of a lifetime and Shabbat will be a great an awesome experience for all of Nitzanim!    Shabbat Shalom.

Gabe Cohen, Rosh Nitzanim

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Cochavim Update 2014 – Week 1

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Cochavim 2014 is off to a great start! Twenty-two chanichim wearing green Cochavim shirts emerged from their buses on Wednesday to be greeted by music and smiling madrichim.  We immediately started playing  icebreaker games to get to know each other that culminated with our first peulat erev (evening activity) of Human Bingo. We also fully unpacked and settled into our cozy new tzrifim (bunks). 

On Thursday, Cochavim had the chance to experience a first full day, where each camper participated in a plethora of activities including swimming in the agam TWICE; helping run Kol Ramah (Camp’s radio station); meeting the animals in our teva shack; playing “Modeh Ani” charades in t’fillot; and so much more. Our competition scavenger hunt led us all around camp discovering the most interesting places. 

On Shabbat, we will be exploring and learning about the  Shabbat traditions at CRB.

We’re looking forward to a fun-filled kayitz!

Shabbat Shalom,

Rachel Siegel, Rosh Cochavim 

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Dvar Torah – Parshat Hukkat 

ImageOne of the defining moments of a week at camp at Ramah in the Berkshires is when the whole camp gathers, a sea of white shirts, in the amphitheater facing the agam, the body of water in the center of camp. The singing is sweet and soulful. The still lake absorbs the frenetic energy of the week, leaving us open to hearing the voice of God over the waters.

Water features prominently in Parshat Hukkat. Moshe strikes the rock in order to get water for the kvetchy people and God is angry. Really angry. One imaginative midrash suggests that Moshe struck the rock (instead of speaking to it as God commanded) because he was upset  over the death of his sister Miriam.

Water was so much a part of her legacy. Miriam’s name means, “a sea of bitter waters.” She places her brother, Moshe, in the waters of the Nile in order to save him. She dances at the Red Sea in celebration of the Israelites safe crossing. Because of all this, the midrash I referred to earlier brings a tradition that for all of the years that the people wandered in the desert, a well of water, Miriam’s Well, miraculously accompanied them. When Miriam dies in this week’s reading, the well dries up, the people are thirsty, they rebel, and Moshe, usually compliant, makes his fatal error.

Miriam’s legacy, according to midrash, is clear. She possessed the ability to use water to save and to celebrate. She literally turns her name on its head- bitter waters become sweet and drinkable for the Children of Israel. When the people complain about water, I wonder if Moshe thought of his sister- and the ways she brought salvation through water.

It’s easy to look back on Miriam’s life and to say, “Ah there is her gift. She knows what to do with water!” But I wonder- at what point in her life she knew that that she had these gifts?

For most of us it takes a long time to discover the skills and characteristics that make us special. It takes a lifetime to understand what we can contribute to the world. Our legacies are not as neat as the one I painted for Miriam. We have gifts that we don’t use, ones that we never knew we possessed.

Part of the magic of camp is that, here, many kids discover those qualities. Walking around camp on the first full day of activity, it was thrilling to see kids trying on helmets to ride the bikes for the first time, breaking their teeth on a new Hebrew word, and watching kids shed their winter personalities for the ones they try on over the summer. Being here for Shavua Hachanah, prep week for the staff, it was particularly exciting to watch yesterday’s campers begin to assume the role of madrichim, counselors. Each one of them has the potential to be that legendary madrich/a who creates an unforgettable experience for our kids.

This Friday night, assuming the weather cooperates, we’ll gather at the agam. White shirts. Voices over the water. Poised to create our legacy. Or at least a great summer.

Rabbi Barry Dov Katz is the rabbi of the Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel of Riverdale. He has worked at Camp Ramah in the Berkshires for many summers. This year he is Rosh Mishlachat, coordinating the work of our Israeli staff, and Rosh Ivrit, head of the Hebrew program. He does not wear a tie at camp. 

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Shabbat Shalom from Wingdale – Week 1

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Costume making, pottery, high ropes course, rock wall climbing, more tefilla options, composting, freshly baked delights, more fresh vegetables, a beautiful agam [lake] , a larger marp [infirmary )staff and  robust creative communications team!  WOW we are in great shape!

If you have not seen our AMAZING videos, I encourage you to click the thumbnails on the sidebar and enjoy our Happy Staff Welcome and Opening Day clips. I want to thank our viewers for their incredibly positive feedback about each video.  Our tracking devices and stats show over 5,000 hits on Facebook and YouTube in addition to more than 450 likes and thousands shared. Instagram, too, presented popularity!  I am impressed with the many methods and tools that we now use to bring you a step closer to CRB—your mishpacha.

On the home front, our home away from home, here in Wingdale, for 25 or 51 days, our campers started their summer with very full  and programmed first days. On day #2 of camp there were already two bunks enjoying early morning bishulim [cookouts], even though they were in camp for less than 24 hours. On Wednesday night, I had the privilege to deliver freshly baked chocolate chip cookies  to many a-side campers.  I was inspired to meet so many children of alumni for whom I was their counselor or rosh edah. As I visited a-side tefillot, I felt as if I never left camp.

Thank you for sharing your child/ren with us. We love having them here and we hope that you will receive our day #2 postcard tomorrow or on Monday.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Paul Resnick

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