After a meaningful Tisha B’av, Shorashim campers continued to prepare for Delilah, our play which we performed last night. The fun and active “Maccabiah” on Wednesday was terrific. Having a big water slide helped us cool down and continue our competitions.
Sam Teitelbaum, Rosh Shorashim
It’s been a meaningful and exciting week for Gesher. On Saturday night, Gesher commemorated the somber day of Tisha B’av with an interactive program that allowed campers to experience the emotions of different points in Jewish history. Gesher continues to excel in working with A- side campers as CITs. On Wednesday, we planned and executed an incredibly successful day of Maccabiah for Cochavim, Nitzanim and Shorashim. This morning, we watched Beneath the Helmet, an Israeli film that provided us with insight into the mindset of Israeli youth. With only two more Shabbatot left, we’re going to make the most of shirah in the chadar and make these last two weeks the best ever.
Gabe Cohen, Rosh Gesher
Machon had another incredibly exciting week! Starting with a reflective Tisha B’Av, we discussed our personal freedoms and the meaning of living as a Jew outside of Israel. Departing for New England on Monday,we spent four fun-filled days touring and volunteering in Boston and Rhode Island. We visited the Boston Science Museum, Fenway Park, Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market. The Duck Tour and Blue Man Group were two special highlights. In addition, we helped clean up trails and worked in the food garden at the Boston Nature Center. Our last stop was in Rhode Island where we explored the Newport mansions and the historic Touro Synagogue. What a memorable edah adventure that we will surely treasure for years!
Zoe Grossman, Rosh Machon
We welcome the Board and Advisory Council to Camp this weekend for our annual summer meeting. Today the finance committee met and over Shabbat our leadership will meet with our senior team. Rabbi Mitch Cohen, the National Ramah director, will lead a discussion on Ramah’s future. I want to share a bit with you – our current parent population – some of what the Board does and to share their remarkable commitment to Camp. I often have said that at times I don’t understand how people live their personal and professional lives and still find the time to give to camp.
Our executive Board is made up of almost all CRB alumni. They remember Camp from the 1970’s and 1980’s and want Camp to keep some of those amazing traditions while making enhancements for 2015 and beyond. Their roots are deep and their commitment unshakable. Some of them are now sending their own children to Camp – part of the 35% of our population that are children of alumni. Our Board and Advisory Council members come from a more diverse background. Most are parents of current or past campers.
There are lawyers, educators, business people, doctors and a wide variety of other professions. This has been tremendously helpful to the growth and strengthening of Camp. They bring to the table incredible expertise in a wide variety of disciplines and are often called upon to lend that knowledge for different challenges facing Camp. There is no doubt that it is this incredible partnership with the Board that has enabled us all to accomplish a great deal.. They support our professional staff with their time, expertise and resources.
I am looking forward to spending time with the executive Board over Shabbat and with the Board and Advisory Council on Sunday.
Rabbi Paul Resnick
This week, Solelim commemorated the fast day of Tisha Ba’Av by learning about senseless hatred and how to create a culture of senseless love in Camp. On Wednesday, we ventured to a water park, Lake Compounce. What a relief on such a hot day! All are looking forward to Shabbat where we will explore society’s reliance on technology.
Deb Pollack, Rosh Solelim
We had an incredible second week with our Cochavimers! From our meaningful Tisha B’Av discussion about what we can do to make the world a more whole place to the fun we had at Maccabiah to an amazing water fight, Cochavim 15 has had a spectacular time. We’re looking forward to a wonderful Shabbat learning about the different Jewish communities around the world and what makes them special.
Didi Kalmanofsky, Rosh Cochavim
Wow, what a week it’s been in Nitzanim! Exciting peulot erev (evening activities) and inspiring tefillot in the treehouse made our week great. Sunday was Tisha B’Av, a sad day on the Jewish calendar.The entire edah watched The Lorax and then engaged in a discussion about destruction. Inserting other Jewish History pieces we learned about the tragedies of Jewish History, such as the Inquisition and the Crusades. Nitzanim split into two teams on Wednesday for the Maccabiah, a day sports competition! Witnessing ruach and sportsmanship in basketball, soccer, kickball, and Ultimate frisbee was great to see. The new omaniyot ( electives) started this week offering so many activities from kayaking to mitbachon (cooking) and more. Now, we are preparing for Shabbat and looking forward to studying about “ how to be a mentch”.
Jon Weinreich, Rosh Nitzanim
Bogim’s Sababa week was absolutely fabulous. From hiking to biking to outdoor cooking, jewelry making, theater arts and Ultimate Frisbee, Bogrimers were totally engaged in awesome and diverse experiences, conducted by experts. Today, we are regrouping as tzrifim and as an edah while we participate in Boker Yisraeli, a half day of Israeli “type” activities designed and implemented by our mishlachat. We will continue to share our Sababa excitement with each other over Shabbat.
Gideon Weiss,Rosh Bogrim
This has been such an exciting week for Tzeirim! The week started off with Tisha B’Av, in which we commemorated the destruction of the Temple with the entire camp by reading Aicha, learning about different time periods of Jewish history, and exploring central themes and important values from Tisha B’Av throughout the day.The Bible Players came on Monday, and we loved having them join us for tefillot, as they engaged us in Judaism through improv and laughter. Wednesday’s edah tiyul (group trip) was a welcome outing to Zoom Flume where we totally enjoyed the water park rides. Our week concluded with the Shorashim/Tzeirim play, Delilah, in which many of our chanichim took active and supportive roles. We’re definitely looking forward to a restful Shabbat, and seeing what the next week has in store!
Mirit Sands, Rosh Tzeirim
By Cantor Carol Chesler
I could not have picked a better Parsha for a D’var Torah than V’Etchanan! In chapters 3 to 6 in Deuteronomy, one finds the Ten Commandments, The Sh’ma/V’ahavta. As I am always thinking musically, this line-up reads like a “Greatest Hits” album of the Jewish people. Then again, I am slightly reticent to decipher these 2 central texts.
I love looking at the siddur and wondering why we say the words we say each day. In that spirit, I would like to focus on a different verse, found early in the Parsha, Deuteronomy 4:4.
וְאַתֶּם֙ הַדְּבֵקִ֔ים בַּה’ אֱלֹֽהֵי-כֶ֑ם חַיִּ֥ים כֻּלְּכֶ֖ם הַיּֽוֹם
“. . . While you who held fast to the Lord your God, are all alive today.” (Etz Hayim, p. 1007), or “You who cling to the Lord your God have been sustained to this day.” (Siddur Sim Shalom, p. 141) This verse from the Parsha is recited each time we begin to read the Torah, and the First Aliyah is about to be called. What does clinging to the Lord have to do with reading from the Torah? We need a way of expressing our attachment to the Almighty, a physical bond that brings us to a spiritual bond with God. Torah is the means of clinging to God – through reading it, studying it, living by the Mitzvot and laws within, sometimes simply by holding the Torah. We are sustained, we are joyful, and ultimately we are connected to the Kodesh Boruch Hu, through our ongoing relationship with the Torah. Here, at Camp Ramah in the Berkshires, we each have the opportunity to strengthen our connection to God every day; by holding fast to the values and teachings of the Torah, we grow as individuals, as Jews, as a community, and as a part of the greater K’lal Yisrael.