Shabbat Shalom Ramah Families,
This has been an unseasonably warm and dry week here at the Chava, leading to a similarly pleasant masa [backcountry excursion] week for all of our chalutzim [campers]. Ironically, last Friday night was the first one where we gathered under our Ohel Mo’ed for dancing and t’ffilot because of the rain.
Last Saturday night was a more somber occasion than usual, as we marked Tisha Ba’av, the Ninth of Av, which commemorates the destruction of the first and second Temples in Jerusalem. Typically, Saturday night is a joyous occasion, filled with dancing, but not this past week. We read the Book of Eicha, a narrative of the destruction, by candlelight in the Ohel Ochel [dining hall] that evening and framed the next day for the chalutzim. Sunday was full of reflective programming, including one peulah [activity] where chalutzim discussed their motivation in life and what values they live by. The peulah asked them to think about why activism is important to their lives or what they stand for.
Ilanot’s highlight of the week was their “Farm Masa”, where they spent an entire day in farming activities: milking goats, making goat cheese, and creating their own lunch with a harvest from the farm – a real “Farm to Table” experience! They then slept out in tents, next to the farm. Today, they visited the local farmer’s market and had a chance to speak with local farmers and sample some Colorado produce.
Metaylim had a blast this week rafting down the Arkansas River and taking a day trip to both Cave of the Winds and Mueller State Park. Be sure to check out some awesome GoPro footage from the rafting on our Facebook page! At Cave of the Winds, they explored the many “rooms” of Colorado’s famous 500 million-year-old cave system, learning about bats and cave formation along the way. They even got to zipline across a scenic canyon!
Sollelim campers headed out for a 4-day masa. The masa’ot included climbing, biking, hiking, art, and service projects. This morning, those of us at camp were awoken by the Payne Creek masa who opted to do a night hike under the full moon back to camp. They left their campsite,
a few miles from camp, at 3 am under a brilliant clear moon, arriving back at the Chava around 6 am and setting up a makeshift campsite on the on the migrash [sports field], where they camped out and made breakfast.
Bogrim campers went kayaking, hiking, climbing, farming, and archery masa’ot. The kayaking group had a chance to be on the water more than usual because of the amazing weather, while the rock climbing masa at Sheeprock accomplished quite an impressive feat – a multi-pitch climb to the top of Helen’s Dome. They were treated to a stunning view at the top and reported beautiful weather.
JOLI went to Indian Peak and, as has become tradition on the JOLI masa, they had a prolonged solo experience. Many reported the highlighs of their week being the solo experience and swimming in a freezing cold lake that was fed by snow melt only a few hundred feet away! They were also inspired and awestruck during this morning’s sunrise t’fillot [prayers] atop the Continental Divide.
Questions to ask your chalutzim this week:
— Ilanot: What was your favorite part of farm masa? What did you do at the Woodland Park Farmers’ Market?
— Metaylim: How was Cave of the Winds? What did you or your friends perform at the lip sync battle?
— Sollelim: Did you get to know anyone new on masa this week? What did you talk about?
— Bogrim: What was something about this masa experience that was new for you? What was the hardest part?
— JOLI: What were you thinking about during your solo experience? What was your biggest challenge on the masa?
We are looking forward to wonderful Shabbat together, and hope that this beautiful weather holds out for the weekend. Sunday is going to be “Yom Yisrael” (Israel Day), where our 12+ Israeli mishlachat [emissaries] plan a day to teach about their homeland. We hope you all have a pleasant and relaxing weekend.
As always, photos from the excursions will be uploaded after Shabbat; you can find them on our Facebook page and Smugmug. A video of some photos from the excursions can be viewed by clicking here.
Rabbi Eliav and the Ramah in the Rockies Team