Weekly Update #7

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Shabbat Shalom Ramah Family and Friends!
For the last time this kayitz [summer], a group of our tzevet [staff] made the trek to Denver International Airport, and picked up 41 chalutzim [campers] that were coming in from all corners of North America (and Israel too!) for our final two weeks at camp. This summer has been an incredible one thus far, and the next two weeks will be no different.

This past week started out on an amazingly strong note- we celebrated Yom Yisrael [Israel Day]. The day’s events were put on by our Israeli staff members to educate and engage various aspects of their homeland. At Yom Yisrael, there were stations that taught about kibbutz life, the Bedouins, religious issues in Israel, and Tel Aviv beach culture.

One of the activities was a discussion on the religious and secular divide in Israel, led by our Rosh Chinuch [Head of Education] and Rosh Omanut [Head of Art].  Mushon and Rachel were married this past winter in Israel, religiously, though they chose not to get married under the ultra-orthodox monopoly on weddings in Israel.  As a result, their wedding is not recognized by Israeli law. They had planned to have a civil, courthouse wedding here in the States this summer that would then be recognized by Israeli law.  However, a camp wedding and educational opportunity proved to be more appealing. The end of the day we celebrated a civil wedding, conducted by one of our tzevet. We celebrated into the night, with yummy wedding cake and cookies made by our awesome kitchen staff. Mushon was particularly excited to teach some of his favorite ‘80’s songs and dances!

This week the chalutzim have been busy participating in our fun base camp activities: rock climbing, mountain biking, horseback riding, mining, archery, hockey, art, and much, much more!  In addition to regular camp activities, each edah has also had some special programs.

As I am writing this, I am watching groups get ready with “packout”- a process of packing personal and group gear for their masa’ot [backcountry excursions].  Everyone from Ilanot [3rd and 4th graders] to JOLI [11th and 12th graders] will spend at least one night this week under the stars camping out.

Ilanot this week in their limmud [learning activity] made “Shmonsters”- creative monster stuffed animals made of felt. They learned about the Shma prayer (hence, Shmonsters) and included a text of it inside the stuffed animals for them to have with them.

Metaylim had an awesome art/nature t’fillah [prayer service] led by one of our tzevet chava [farm staff].  They made artwork reflecting their experiences with nature, and later featured a nature walk through camp with meditations.

Sollelim began their limmud [Jewish learning] activity just as the two week buses were arriving up to camp. Rather than continue their activity, they got up and actively greeted the new arrivals, and practiced the value of Hachnasat Orchim [welcoming guests]. Rather than just learning about values, they were living them!

Bogrim enjoyed a rousing and spirited “sing-off” followed by a talent show.  Their energy and voices could be heard throughout the office building and this side of camp.

JOLI had an exciting night learning how to make sushi from some of our particularly talented staff. They came up with creative rolls and learned all about the ins and outs of the art of sushi making.

One of the aspects of our camp in which we take pride is the way we lift the veil on the food choices we make at camp.  We start most meals with a food tour about what we are eating, or how the food came to our plates.  This week, we had two interesting experiences with our food program that we shared with our chalutzim.  We began the summer with over 400 gallons of organic milk, donated by a local, private labeler.  On  Thursday morning, we finished using all our organic milk, and for budgetary reasons will finish the summer serving regular 2% milk.  We explained to the chalutzim the shift in the product that they will be served in our final two weeks.

Also, last night we had a camp-wide barbecue with an enormous amount of organic chicken.  Due to the cold weather in the northeastern U.S. this winter, the chicks that were supposed to hatch in late winter and then graze for a few months were delayed in hatching and growing to a size where they could be schechted [ritually slaughtered].  Instead of taking delivery of all 500 chickens in early June, we were only able to get a few in the early spring, and the rest were schechted and sent here in early July.  With the 9 days when we do not serve meat remaining, we are now left with more meat than expected. This means that our chalutzim who came in the first part of the summer ate less meat than usual, and the ones now at camp are eating more meat than usual.  We expect to have another 2-3 barbeques before the end of the summer!

To let you in on a little surprise, Sunday will be our infamous Yom Sport competition. (But shhh, don’t tell your children, it’s a surprise!) We are excited for this energetic day of friendly competition and camaraderie.

We are looking forward to this Shabbat, and the stunning weather we have been having.

A reminder to all that campers cannot receive or send mail while they are on their masa’ot next week. Also, we will only post photos of campers when they are in camp.

Registration is officially open for 2016, and you can sign up on our website (ramahout.s466.sureserver.com) by clicking “Register Now” at the top.

As always we do our best to post regular photo updates both on Facebook and Smugmug, and we will post Shabbat photos on Sunday.

Wishing you all a wonderful Shabbat!

Rabbi Eliav and the Ramah in the Rockies Team

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