We are about to begin our pre-Shabbat dancing and with it our first Shabbat of Session 2B. This has been another exciting week on the chava [ranch], full of goodbyes, hellos, and welcomes. We said lehitra’ot [goodbye] to our Session 2A chalutzim [campers] and greeted a new batch of chalutzim for Session 2B. As has become tradition, our new chalutzim were greeted by a tunnel of staff and chalutzim as they streamed off the bus.
The week kicked off with the opening of our new Beit Kesher retreat center, where a number of our chalutzim spoke about the power of camp and its impact on their lives. One chalutza from Bogrim remarked, “from joking with your ohel…to laughing with your counselors… my answer to you [about what makes camp so terrific] is all the little moments make camp the wonderful thing it is.” A mixture of staff and chalutzim, known as Ramahcapella, performed an incredible song for the event.
In the middle of the week we observed Tisha B’av, the Ninth of Av, where we commemorate the destruction of the 1st and 2nd Temples, as well as many other tragic events in our history. We started the observance with a tekes [ceremony] lead by several of our Mishlachat [Israeli staff members] who had lost friends in the recent conflict. It was a truly moving ceremony and one that really brought the challenges of the Gaza conflict home to our chalutzim. Many tzevet [staff] and chalutzim read Eicha [Lamentations] for the whole camp, and we ended our night early.
The following day we chose Tisha B’av as an appropriate day to mark Yom Yisrael [Israel Day] this session. Various activities focused around current issues in Jewish identity and Israel. We also used this day as an opportunity to talk about sinat chinam [senseless hatred]. We spoke about how sinat chinam manifests itself today in the forms of cyberbullying and how we can make a difference to stop it. While the rain came in and out pretty heavily throughout Tisha B’av, towards the end of the day we were treated with an extraordinary double rainbow. I felt like it was a reference to the story of Noah, with God promising us that all would be right in the world.
We have also continued running our usual programs. Throughout the week, chalutzim could be found biking our roads and single tracks, riding horses on the trails, climbing both on the slab and on the bouldering wall, and just having fun hanging out around their tents during free time.
Additionally, our Jewish Outdoor Leadership Institute (JOLI) chalutzim have started working with the various edot in Shmirat HaGuf [morning warm-ups/Protecting the Body], and other leadership opportunities throughout camp. We have expanded the program this session to include JOLI in many more roles at camp–alongside the climbing staff, archery staff, art staff, photography team, and other areas. It’s really incredible to watch these 11th and 12th graders learn the ropes of being dugma’ot [role models] for the camp. We hope that these incredible chalutzim will join us on tzevet in the future!
Sunday is sure to be a special day here at camp as it is Yom Sport (but shh…it’s a secret)! Next week, all of our chalutzim head out on masa’ot [excursions] from a two-day trip for our Ilanotchalutzim (3rd/4th graders) to five-day trips for the 9-12th graders.
As a reminder, we post pictures and updates on Facebook most days that chalutzim are at the chava [ranch]. If you are not a fan of our Facebook page, please become one. Here is the link to our online photos that we update every two or three days.
As always please be in touch with any questions or comments. You can always email me or our yoatzim [camper care team] at email@example.com.
Rabbi Eliav Bock, Director
Ramah Outdoor Adventure
E firstname.lastname@example.org | T (303) 261-8214 x104