Monthly Archives: July 2017

Nitzanim 2017–Week 3

We cannot believe that we have already completed our third week together in Nitzanim!  This week some of our tzrifim had the opportunity to experience amazing al hagova peulot including bishul boker and visits to the rock wall and zipline. On Wednesday morning, the Nitzanim girls conducted a special t’fillah peulah at Paradise, one of the most beautiful mekomot in all of Camp. On Thursday and Friday, we celebrated our y’mei meyuchad with Yom Mayim and Yom Keshet. Chanichim participated in water-based relay races, rainbow-themed art projects, and Ramah Olympics competitions. We’re so excited to spend another beautiful Shabbat together.

Shabbat Shalom!

Sarah Davis, Rosh Nitzanim

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Solelim 2017 –Week 3

This week was an awesome one for Solelim. We are all having a fantastic time that will only get better as the summer progresses.We participated in a variety of terrific activities, including Mega Twister and Super Extreme Gaga. We also tested our knowledge of our camp surroundings in Camp Trivia 2.0: Madrich/a Edition. Finally, we thoroughly enjoyed the original Shorashim-Tzeirim play.Towards the end of the week, we went on two spectacular trips. On the first we cheered on our favorite home minor league baseball team, the Hudson Valley Renegades! On the second trip, we bounced and trampolined at an indoor trampoline gym and capped off the trip with some yummy ice cream at Carvel. This Shabbat we will explore the diversity of Israel’s religious spectrum. We hope that the chanichim will achieve a new appreciation for the State of Israel, its citizens, and religious pluralism.

 Shabbat Shalom,

Noam Kornsgold, Rosh Solelim

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Shorashim–Week 3

We had a phenomenal third week of camp in Shorashim! Our hatzagah (play)—CRB Tales was a huge hit as we enjoyed combining our talents with Tzeirim chanichim. To top off our week , our tiyul (trip) to Castle Fun Park was stupendous.  We even had two birthdays to boot! We’re looking forward to a Shabbat shalom in Wingdale, and we can’t wait to see what next week brings! Until next time!

Shabbat Shalom,

Didi Kalmanofsky, Rosh Shorashim

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Tzeirim 2017 — Week 3

It’s been an incredible third week of the kayitz for Tzeirim! This week some tzrifim had tiyulim to the Stone Church and some conquered their fear of heights on our high ropes course! We also performed our hatzagah, CRB Tales,  with Shorashim and it was phenomenal! We certainly have amazingly talented chanichim!  Hosting and competing in Thursday’s annual Kiddush Kup  against URJ camps Crane Lake and Eisner was thrilling …AND WE WON!  What an awesome way to end our busy week!  All are looking forward to spending another Shabbat together.

Shabbat Shalom,
Hannah Lorman, Rosh Tzeirim

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Bogrim 2017 — Week 3

This past week Bogrim chanichim enthusiastically and energetically participated in a very musical week starting with a “so you think you can dance” lip sync battle peulat erev, a “Pitch Perfect” styled sing off peulat erev and concluded the week with Yom Soundtrack. Yom soundtrack  was a fully programmed day with each activity representing a different year’s top hit song featuring “where is the love?”; Capture the love (a variation of capture the flag); and a “poker face” evening of casino style card games and snacks. Our theme, this week, music, gave Bogrim campers and opportunity to enjoy musical tefilla and on Yom Hav  we had a tefilla conversation about the song “live your life”.  We compared the values of living a meaningful life and how we live our lives as Jews while exploring the related themes found  in the amida.  We will conclude the week with Shabbat Tzahal, a Shabbat planned with our American madrichim and Israeli miktzoim. This Shabbat our discussions will focus on the core values of the Israeli army and learn how it can relate  to our lives as Jewish Americans.

Shabbat Shalom,

Naama Malomet, Rosh Bogrim

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Gesher 2017– Week 3

Still reveling in the success of last week’s play, Gesher had a wonderful third week of Camp! Throughout the week, Gesher met with their CIT chanichim and enjoyed a lot of time together in peulot erev and meals. The Gesher chanichim have started to learn how to plan their own activities. So far, they have planned luau with dancing by the agam and a camp wide game of Capture the Flag. We are starting to prepare for Sunday’s Zimriyah  and have been busy rehearsing our two songs. On Thursday,  our Yom Meychad, was filled with sport competitions and relay races. This Shabbat, we will learn with our Israeli Mishlachat and discuss Israel politics, culture, and  Israel on college campuses. Gesher is having the best time in camp!
Shabbat Shalom!
Deb Pollack, Rosh Gesher

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Machon 2017–Week 3

Machon had an amazing trip this week! We went to the Boston Museum of Science and did the Boston Duck tour, a land and water tour. Day #1 concluded with an evening at the  fabulous Blue Man Group show.  The next day, a terrific tour of Fenway park  was followed by an activity at the Holocaust memorial. Machon totally enjoyed free time at Boston Commons before going to see the comedy show, Shear Madness. On Thursday, we went to the Skywalk Observatory and then the Prudential Mall for free time and lunch. After that we had fun roller-blading and then concluded our evening at a  Haunted Walking Tour of the Central Burial Ground Cemetery. Before returning to Camp  for Shabbat, we visited the Touro synagogue in Newport, RI.  What an awesome adventure and an awesome edah!

Shabbat Shalom,

Emily Rebenstock, Rosh Machon

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Cochavim 2017–Week 3

It is hard to believe that our third week of camp is already coming to a close! From Thursday afternoon into Fridaymorning, Cochavim has had an amazing Yom Gan Chayot (Zoo Day) where we have done all sorts of peulot (activities) relating to animals. This morning started off with crafting animal masks and getting some animal-inspired face paint.

On Monday night, we had an amazing “Reverse Talent Show” peulat erev (evening activity) where chanichim (campers) got to show off their hidden abilities. Talents ranged from “do your best cartwheel” and “recite the Aleph-bet as quickly as you can” to “sing the Cochavim song with the most ruach” and “do your best impression of Jake” (some of which were a little too accurate).

During tefillah (services) on Wednesday morning, the campers all engaged in a peulah (activity) in regards to the relationship between HaShem (G-d) and humans. They were each given a note card with cut-out squares to represent humans and triangles to represent HaShem. It was wonderful to see the ways they portrayed their personal relationships and the relation between HaShem and people on their cards and it was even more inspiring to hear their insight as they explained their artwork.

We are once again praying that we have a rain-free Shabbat this weekend as we anticipate beautiful tefillah and reading from the Torah. Last Shabbat, eight of our chanichim read Torah for the very first time! We also had eightchanichim recite the aliyah b’rachot (blessings), a group perform in a Parsha Play written by some of ourmadrichot (counselors) and we had several campers answer Torah Trivia questions with great attention to detail. We are looking forward to participation from even more chanichim as we learn about parshat Pinchas this week!

Shabbat Shalom!

Jacob Greenberg, Rosh Cochavim

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From the Bamat: Parashat Pinchas

This week’s parasha features the beginning of a process that will not end until the final words of the Torah—or perhaps, it is better to say, until the opening words of the book of Joshua. That process is the elevation of Joshua to the leadership of the people of Israel.  We have known for some time that Moses would die in the wilderness—that is his (perhaps somewhat extreme) punishment for striking the water-rock instead of asking it nicely—and there have been hints of Joshua’s importance as well.  But here, for the first time, the people learn explicitly that God has selected Joshua to take over for Moses when the time comes.

For the people of Israel, this will be the second major transfer of authority in the wilderness: Aaron’s death brought his son Eleazar into the leadership of the priesthood.  Indeed, the case of Aaron and Eleazar is interesting when juxtaposed to that of Moses and Joshua.  In the case of Aaron, there is no announcement to the people.  Aaron, Eleazar and Moses go up Mount Hor, and when only Moses and Eleazar return, the latter wearing the priestly vestments that had been his father’s, the people understand what has happened.  There is no process of leadership transition.

In the case of Moses and Joshua, we get the announcement and the ritual ordination of Joshua (Moses places his hands on Joshua’s head) well before Moses’ death actually brings the transfer of power to fruition.  In addition, this happens in full view of all the people, a fact the Torah makes certain to stress, which differs markedly from the mountaintop death of Aaron and subsequent elevation of Eleazar, both of which occur without the people present.

Two momentous transitions then, but handled quite different.  One possible reason for the difference is that there was no question, really, about who would succeed Aaron when he died.  The priesthood is hereditary and Aaron’s position would naturally pass to his eldest surviving son. (Eleazar’s two older brothers famously die on their first day of work back in Leviticus 10.)  There was no need for process and no need for public affirmation: Aaron’s successor was never in doubt.  Moses’ position on the other hand, is not a hereditary one. (And, indeed, the political leadership of the people of the Israel would not became a dynastic position until David’s son Solomon became the first king of Israel to inherit the title from his father. If we’re being really technical, Saul’s son Ishboshet was also proclaimed king over part of Israel after his father’s death.)  Moses does have sons (Gershon and Eliezer) but they have little role to play in the narrative, and none at all in the leadership of Israel.  Moses’ successor, therefore, is not a foregone conclusion. A very public announcement of Joshua’s elevation would make sense, as does the decision to make such an announcement long before the actual moment of transition occurs. (This is similar to what Roman Emperors who were childless would often do; they would adopt a prominent person as their son as a means by which to signal whom they thought should inherit the purple.)  The people would have needed time to accept the ascension of Joshua, and Moses’ ongoing presence and continual support for Joshua would have helped immeasurably in making that transition as smooth as possible.

And smooth it turns out to be.  When Moses finally does die—outside the Promised Land, as God had promised—Joshua takes up the mantle of leadership with not a hint of dissent or disturbance.  No latter-day Korach arises to challenge his position; there is no hint of the revolts that had punctuated the years of wandering in the wilderness.  The process that begins in our parasha with the public elevation and ordination of Joshua ends exactly as intended: with Joshua as the undisputed leader of the people of Israel.  The peaceful transition does not solve all of Israel’s problems, but the fraught moment of Moses’ passing is far more peaceful than the narrative of the rebellious Israelites up until that point would have led us to imagine.

Transition, of course, is always difficult, even when it is easy.  Every summer at Camp brings with it some transitions for campers and staff, and this summer is no exception—though perhaps this summer has more sense of transition than most.  But I hope that the transition from one director to the next has felt smooth, if not seamless.  For my part, I can only marvel at Rabbi Paul Resnick, who, beginning last summer, let me hang around Camp as much as I wanted, anywhere I wanted to be.  Throughout this year, Paul has been willing to answer every odd question, every inane query I could muster.  I am immensely grateful for his help and example.

But transition occurs not just in the passage from one director to the next; the success of a transition is dependent on far more than two people.  Camp Ramah in the Berkshires is blessed with excellent veteran staff members at all levels, all of whom have been critical in this time of evolution for Camp. New staff too, whether they were campers or are brand new to Camp, have allowed me to find my way, to try new things and to mess up their names half a dozen times or so.  Finally, I would be remiss if I did not mention the campers, who have greeted me with warmth and enthusiasm, told me what they would like Camp to be, and even showed me how to get from one place or another on more than one occasion.  Truly, a moment of transition is a community event—an event that exposes the strengths (or weakness) of that community.  The people of Israel who accepted Joshua without complaint showed themselves to be far stronger than the generation of their parents, who had fought Moses every step of the way from slavery to freedom.  Camp Ramah in the Berkshires is a strong community built over many years under the leadership of Rabbi Resnick, and nothing shows that strength more profoundly than the moment of transition this summer represents.  As a new director, I am grateful for that strength, and I hope only that I can be worthy of the community I have been given the honor to lead.

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Gesher 2017–Week 2

We had a wonderful second week in Gesher!! On Sunday night at aruchat erev, Gesher met their new CIT chanichim followed by peulat erev together which helped to begin the process of creating connections.  On Tuesday, Gesher danced the night away at the Fourth of July concert. On Yom Hatzagah, on Wednesday, Gesher put the finishing touches on our play, Beauty and the Beast. From stage crew, dancing, singing, to lights, every Gesher chanich was involved in producing an incredible performance! As the first show of the season, Gesher certainly presented unbelievable talent and served as a role model ( setting the bar high) for the other upcoming edah plays! We are so excited for Shabbat, where we will be joined by a group of teen musicians from Israel and spend Shabbat learning from each other and singing together. Shabbat Shalom from Gesher!

Deb Pollack, Rosh Gesher

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