Shira Grosman (Gesher ’09)
Omanut holds a unique place at Camp, tucked away at the farthest northern edge of B-side and visited by only a small portion of the Camp population. Omanut holds a unique place in my memory because it allowed me an artistic outlet during a day otherwise filled with athletics and outdoor activities. Omanut has always been a secluded and quiet space, allowing me to forget about all the hectic activity of Camp happening around me.
As a camper, I always signed up for Omanut peulot and cherish many items I created over the years. I have vivid memories of coating my arm in Vaseline before applying layer upon layer of plaster to create a cast of my arm and hand. After spending many summers in Omanut peulot, I was excited to see the program from a different angle as an Omanut ozer my Gesher summer. I spent many afternoons shredding and soaking paper to creating paper mache for Miri Sela’s z”l peulot. Being an Omanut ozer also gave me access to the expansive supply closet, creating the sets for our edah play and painting chug banners. This ozer role provided an outlet that nourished my creativity throughout the summer. As a staff member, I brought one of my favorite Omanut projects from my camper days back – string bowls, made by blowing up a balloon and draping glue covered string in ethereal patterns, creating a dense network of lines that, when dry, forms a rigid bowl.
Working in Omanut my first summer on staff provided the most creative experience I had during my time at Camp Ramah. In conjunction with the Al Hagova staff, I painted the high rock wall and traverse wall adjacent to the Omanut building. This project fell at the intersection of art, Judaism, politics and acrobatics (have you ever tried belaying while holding a paint bucket and roller?). The project was rewarding in many ways, notably because I was able to combine my love of outdoors with my Omanut job, while also providing a unique feature wall and a climbing tool. In talking with the campers I was a live-in for, I decided to paint the wall with dark shadows to look like people climbing. My campers were happy to act as models for this and even participated in the painting. For the high wall, we looked to combine a Jewish element, selecting the map of Israel. As a new staff member learning about how the ‘other side’ of Camp operates, figuring out how to represent the map of Israel was especially interesting. The Israeli staff members on Al Hagova had opinions about which cities to highlight (the places they were from) and everyone else on the Al Hagova/Omanut team had a perspective. Then came the physical act of painting a geographically accurate map 20 feet in the air. Ultimately, the project took multiple people (both painters and belayers) and some headlights to complete. The process of painting the walls was unlike anything I’d ever done at Camp and a wonderful opportunity to leave a mark on Camp doing something I love.