THE VOICE OF CAMP RAMAH IN THE BERKSHIRES AUGUST 2006 ISSUE TWO We Gave It Our All An integral part of life at Mahaneh Ramah is the opportunity to play on a sports team, known in camp as “hug.” The excitement begins the very ﬁrst day of camp, when B-siders choose the team they want to play on: boys’ and girls’ basketball and softball, frisbee, tennis, swim, soccer, Scrabble or cross-country. Solelim and most Bogrim play on Junior Varsity teams while Machon and Gesher and some Bogrimers play on Varsity. The teams practice all summer, primarily in preparation for Yom Palmer. The almost two hours daily are spent running, conditioning, drilling, scrimmaging and bonding. Not only is hug important for that one part of the day, but the friendships created both within and outside the edah are strong. Hug is a presence in Yom Palmer: the life of a camper. The night before Yom Palmer, the teams get psyched at a pep rally. Everyone chants as one voice, “Make new friends! Make new friends!” Screaming and roaring alternate with calmly singing “Al Ha-dvash V’al Ha-oketz.” Even the clothing brings the team together. Each team wears a different outﬁt: white t-shirts, striped shirts, purple leis. The most outrageous? The frisbee team wears kilts–short plaid skirts–shirts draped sash-like across their bare chests, half their faces painted various shades of blue. “No matter what happens tomorrow,” says Ari Frankel, one of the frisbee captains, “the only thing that matters is that I love my team and I’ve never been prouder of any group in my life.” Members of every team are called up by name to get their jerseys. The goofy nicknames they’ve been given by their teammates are imprinted on the backs of their jerseys. There’s Chip ‘n Dip and Nutty Professor. Josh Stecker’s shirt reads, “Cleakers.” “Once,” he explains, “I asked if we should wear cleats or sneakers but it came out sneats or cleakers.” The night continues as each team discusses their approaching game. Everyone is told, “Get a good night’s sleep!” but that is difﬁcult, given that the excitement for the next day. An informal pep rally follows in the Hadar Ochel in the morning. The teams sit together and discuss the signiﬁcance of the day, how hard they’ve been practicing and how great it will be. It’s another opportunity to pump up the team. After the buses arrive from Palmer, the teams with morning games warm up. The teams that play afternoon games watch. Then it switches. The teams play their hardest but the only victory for Berkshires is Hug Tennis. “We gave it all our effort and valor,” says Rosh Sport Zach Seiden. But maybe the losses are not as crushing as they may seem. After losing 15-8, Hug Frisbee runs screaming up the hill from the golf course. “Did you win?” a bystander asks. “No,” they answer, and keep running. —Josh Cooper and Joey Resnick Machon Among the choices in the Machon Havayah program was a one-week journalism elective. Campers reported on a variety of areas of camp. You’ll ﬁnd their stories throughout the newspaper. Enjoy! INSIDE Ramah Diary: Lights, Camera, Action Fred Elias: Here, Our Letters to More Than Ever, Recipes A Vision To Remember Page 3 There and Everywhere Israeli Soldiers Celebrating Israel— Page 11 Page 2 Page 4 Page 5 Ramah Style Page 9 DIRECTOR’S MESSAGE The View From Here: It’s A Small World Mission Possible If you are ever in Prague, don’t be surprised if you tell them, when you turn 18 you’ll come,”Aby says. Don’t be surprised if your child returns home from bump into someone wearing a Camp Ramah t-shirt. “And they do. They all want to come.” camp this summer asking for humus and pita, The chances are he–or she–has worked in our camp For Aby, taking care of his staff feels a little like singing Israeli songs and talking about visiting his or kitchen or dining room sometime in the past 15 years. being a “big daddy” to a lot of kids. “They are foreign her Israeli counselor. Juraj (pronounced Yoo-rye)Nally, 23, has left his people in a foreign country. They have absolutely no Part of our mission village of Bobro, Slovakia, to work at camp for the past one and you have to take care of them,” he says, while at camp is to increase four summers. The degree he just earned from Zilina putting their return airline tickets in order. They have a love for Israel. We University in transportation economics won’t help him their own camp program and Aby takes them on trips instill a pride in Israel much as a cook in the meat kitchen, but he doesn’t outside camp once a week: movies, bowling, dinner, through the role models mind. His twin sister Natalia, who runs the dining ice cream. who abound around room and has degrees in history and Slovak language, The camp kitchen–a world onto itself–doesn’t camp. Our mishlahat, an has accompanied him for the past three years. “We daunt them. They prepare sauces and pizza dough in enthusiastic and vibrant heard about Ramah from a cousin who worked here the 80-quart kettles and mixers; wash 1,200 dishes, crew of young Israelis, eight or nine years ago,” says Juraj. cutlery and bowls per meal in the industrial-strength lives side by side with According to Commisary Director Aby Laznik, dishwasher; bake 2,000 cinnamon rolls, and boil Rabbi Paul Resnick, Director our campers, teaching, of the 27 kitchen staff, 80 percent come through an 1296 eggs for Shabbat. And they learn a little about laughing, singing, dancing; encouraging the use exchange program from Eastern Europe. “They want to Judaism. Ineta Baltramonaityte Kaunasi, a 21-year-old of Hebrew. Despite the tense and horriﬁc situation get to know the U.S.,” Aby says. Ranging in age from textile design student from Lithuania who is spending in Israel, they did their jobs admirably and came 18-26, they are Czechs, Slovaks, ethnic Hungarians, her second year at camp, says she never met anyone together closely as a group. Ukrainians and Lithuanians who are studying or Jewish before. “I like them,” she says. From working The mishlahat is responsible for creating and have completed degrees in electrical engineering, in the pantry, she says she has learned that you are not implementing the programming for Hashi, a half- week devoted to Israel unique to CRB. Hashi has not only become a staple on our calendar: it is also recognized at the Jewish Agency as an incredibly successful tool in Israel education. Alongside the educational goal, our campers look forward to Hashi as one of the highlights of their summer. They compare each year’s programming to that of previous summers. This summer, you couldn’t walk around camp without hearing the “Hashi song,” Shalom Aleichem. Campers danced to its motions spontaneously. We couldn’t ignore the situation in Israel, nor did we want to. Machon attended the rally in New York in support of Israel. They identiﬁed themselves as a group by wearing their Ramah t-shirts. Not surprisingly, strangers came up to them applauding their participation. We added a prayer for Israeli soldiers during Birkat Hamazon. Age-appropriate computers, economics and more. allowed to mix meat and dairy: “It’s not hard to get discussion groups focused on facts, perspectives Except for Aby’s two chefs, Roy Bayliss and Victor used to.” Juraj says he has learned “what is Shabbat.” and feelings. Lopez, who are from Belize and Peru respectively, “Some people know zip when they get here,” says But we also tried to show campers that life in the other kitchen staff do not have food backgrounds. Aby. “They’ve never seen a Jew in their life. Sometimes Israel goes on, that we can celebrate Israel with joy, But, says Aby, they learn fast. “Their work ethic is we have discussions about Judaism. They meet through Israeli songs and dances in ourZimriyah, unbelievable. They are not your average kitchen staff people from Israel. It opens a whole different world to Rikudiah and ﬁrst-ever Maholiah (an evening of workers in this country. It’s nice to work with people them.” Every year, Aby teaches his staff a song for the dance for Mahaneh Aleph). From the time they are who understand your needs. They are very caring and Zimriyah–including the meaning of the words–and Cochavim campers, they hear about Ramah Seminar take pride in what they do. I wish I could have this staff a dance for the Rikudiah. “Sometimes when the kids from their counselors. At the staff level, we held a everywhere I go,” says Aby, who works in a gourmet have shirah in the dining room the ones who have been Friday night panel discussion exploring program market in Boca Raton, Florida, when he is not at camp. here a while can sing with the kids,” Aby says. “They options in Israel. In fact, ﬁfteen staff members The camp works with two recruiting agencies; and get a kick out of being a big part of camp life and not are studying in Israel, in programs ranging from Aby also attends yearly camp director fairs in Europe just being part of the help.” the One-Year Program at Hebrew University and from time to time to interview candidates himself. In What song does Juraj remember? “Al shloshah Yeshivat Maaleh Gilboa to the service corps program the past few years, however, word of mouth has been devarim,” he smiles shyly. What has he learned about sponsored by the Jewish Agency. enough. One friend tells his college roommate; another America? “It’s a different culture,” he says. “I don’t When campers leave in August, they truly feel sends his cousin. Others remember Aby’s visits from know, “ he says, pausing, “Everyone here is from that Israel is part of their lives. ten years back, when they were too young to apply. “I Europe!” Ramah Diary: A Vision To Remember An excerpt from Rabbi Eliot Malomet’s “Yoman Ramah,” Ramah Diary, broadcast weekly Singing together. It’s what camp is all about. on Ramah radio. Rabbi Malomet, the yoetz for Nitzanim and Shorashim, serves as spiritual leader of the Highland Park Conservative Temple and Center in New Jersey. Yoman Ramah Episode Three Sunday, August 13, 2006 Dear Diary, It was a wonderful Shabbat. Something about the lake. Just watching the whole mahaneh assembled at the Ampiteatron doing Kabbalat Shabbat, all dressed in white. Singing together. It’s what camp is all about. From where I sat, I could see everything, the changing colors on the horizon, the gentle slope of the forest on the other side of the lake, the soft breeze, the cool air, and the music. It was quite beautiful. I sometimes wish that we could record this, but even if we did record it, a video could never capture the feeling of Shabbat. There is a moment when it all comes together. You realize that a whole year of planning, a whole year of organizing, it. It is always changing. Like time. Like experience. Like life itself. There’s only a week administering, putting together a staff, bringing people, families, together, it is all felt of camp left. I remember these last weeks of camp from my own experiences. The best at that moment. I watched Rabbi Resnick turn at one point to face the lake, just for a things happened during the last week. Plays, banquets, celebrations. moment with the whole mahaneh behind him, and I was moved. All I know is that after this week, it will be over. All of the things that we love will The nights have grown colder...This morning, I saw my breath as I went for a vanish like mist. There will be the last Thursday of camp, then the last Friday, the last walk. This morning, I saw the mist rise from the lake. It was a choreography of light Kabbalat Shabbat, and the last Shabbat. And then Sunday morning it will all be over. cotton wisps whirling and twirling westerly toward the other shore. There is art to be All of the people in this place will board their buses and load up their cars and drive made from this lake. There is what to behold. Mist is a good metaphor. It is what to away. There will be tears, hugs, embraces, and promises. But the lake, and its mist, behold, but, let’s face it, mist is precisely what you can’t behold. If you look carefully and its beauty, and the trees, and the rock, will remain. It will all be here, waiting for us at the mist of the lake, you realize that you really can’t behold it. You can’t hold onto to return again next year. August 2006 Page 2 Lights, Camera, Action! Until recently, Nitzan Eitan was a commander in the movie. A Tzeirim group Israeli Army (IDF). Part of her job was to teach ofﬁcers ﬁlmed Bubbe in the how to shoot accurately. Mitbahon making the That could also be her job description at Camp Fourth of July cake. “It Ramah. Only here she’s shooting with a video camera. had strawberries and Nitzan’s video room, to the side of Beit Am Aleph, is blueberries and really a popular destination for this summer’s campers. A good icing,” says Leah neon yellow poster on the door announces, “Video,” Chevan, a.k.a. Peanut in red and blue glittered Hebrew and English letters. Butter. (Hmmm, were “Until now video wasn’t such an important activity,” they ﬁlming or tasting?) says Nitzan, 20. A new editing program—Adobe “It was fun to edit the Premiere—promises user-friendly bells and tape. We looked through whistles, in addition to a VCR and DVD player; three title pages and chose one camcorders, and tapes. “The kids love using the that was like a comic book. camera,” Nitzan says. “They love to explore.” It said, `Our Hero,’ and we Nitzan specialized in communications and cinema put a picture of Bubbe’s in high school in Hod Hasharon, and makes bar face on it.” Leah says she mitzvah videos in her free time. She prepared for her learned it takes a long stay at camp by making two video clips with dazzling time to make a movie. The special effects: one introduces the Mishlahat members, hardest part, she says, was the other takes campers on a trip through Israel, from trying to get everyone in Jerusalem to Mt. Tabor, The Ivrit program is using the Mitbahon to control their second video as a fun quiz. urges to jump in front of The video program is open to all edot except the camera. Her best friend, Rachel Richman, a.k.a. If only all of life were like that. Gesher and Cochavim. Each group comes up with its Jelly, says she liked the fact that if she did something own concept and edits a ﬁnal product. One group of wrong she could go back and change it in editing. Nitzanim ﬁlmed their own version of a James Bond Creating New Leaders: New In Kayitz ‘06 Counselors Are A Cornerstone At Ramah There’s a new abbreviation among camp staff that’s all the rage this summer. It’s JTM, or Jewish Teachable Moment. The staff didn’t coin this one themselves. It’s one of the concepts six third-year counselors learned at the Cornerstone Fellowship Program they participated in this past spring. The idea, explains Michael Verstandig, a Gesher counselor and Cornerstone fellow, is that even the smallest thing can be a powerful opportunity to add Judaism to day-to-day life. Michael and the other Cornerstone fellows–Avi Eisen, Ben Mernick, Naomi Queen, Josh Smith and Annie Zaks–shared what they learned with newer Ramah staff and junior counselors at training sessions during Staff Week. Topics ranged from how to be a more effective counselor to designing a camp mission statement. The “fellows “ have weekly sessions with their liaison, Fred Elias, to brainstorm new ideas and discuss how they can continue being leaders at camp. The Cornerstone program, made possible with the support of the Avi Chai Foundation and designed by the non-proﬁt Foundation for Jewish Camping, is a groundbreaking leadership program for returning third-year counselors. “They realized it was important to ﬁnd a niche for people who’ve already been counselors Machon and Gesher two years. They need something new and different,” explains Fred, who was one of the conference facilitators. “Cornerstone turns them into leaders. They become invested in and excited about Jewish camping. Younger staff can also look to them as campers learn the role models. Being a counselor is not just about coming for one summer. It’s about a lifelong commitment.” By providing an incentive stipend and advanced professional development training, Jewish camps hope to attract, retain and strengthen their fun of skills and “cornerstones,” their emerging Jewish leaders. Josh Smith says he enjoyed the program-sharing among the camp representatives. “We came home with 30 programs,” he says. “We learned that at waterskiing Berkshires, we’re in our own little bubble,” Michael adds. “At each meal during Cornerstone, a different camp discussed their own camp traditions—for motzi or on Candlewood Lake brachot, for example. I realized we’re only one Jewish camp out of many. We’re all the same in many ways, yet different.” in Connecticut! –Rahel Musleah and Fred Elias Page 3 August 2006 MY RAMAH SPACE Ask The Camper: Fred Elias: Here, There And Everywhere Something Special’s Shorashim camper Ari Friedman is in his ﬁrst taste of Ramah when he worked Going On Here awe of Fred Elias, Rosh Mahaneh as a counselor at Palmer, from 1996- Aleph. “He runs the younger kids,” 2000. That’s also where he met We asked campers at random what memories Ari says, trying to describe Fred’s his wife, Michelle. He served as come to mind when they think about camp during job, a new position at camp this youth director and principal of the year. The number one answer was “friends.” year. “He keeps them calm. a synagogue in Massachusetts Here is a sampling of responses. Without him, Mahaneh Aleph until he entered rabbinical wouldn’t, like, exist. What he school at the Jewish Theological When I am at home during the year and I think does is amazing. How does Seminary in Manhattan; he’s about Camp Ramah, I think about... he do it?” he shakes his head now in his third year. The in wonder. “I don’t know.” rabbinical school curriculum ..the Hadar Ochel, because I’m always with my Fred’s own version is just requires students to spend a friends. It’s a great feeling to know your friends are a tad different: “I’m responsible summer at a Ramah camp to see your family at camp. for a fun and safe experience for how it can change people’s lives, Aviva Weiner, Nitzanim Mahaneh Aleph campers and staff,” says Fred, which brought him to he says. Berkshires. At CRB, he’s been Rosh ...camp being like a second home for the summer. You’ll see Fred calling to kids playing Shorashim and head of Taam Ramah, the You get to have fun and there are no worries. I on the kikar to go to their next peulah; handing one-week program for campers entering third and remember times I’ve laughed a lot. out snacks with Rabbi Resnick; giving out clues for fourth grades. Year-round, he is our program director, Lydia Dubois, Shorashim his trademark hide ‘n seek game—ﬁnding a “lost” ET setting the summer calendar, arranging special ﬁgurine or Metrocard; playing basketball; reading the programs and reunions. ...new experiences. I can try things I don’t have the haftarah; enjoying his favorite meal, bishul; donning a There’s no doubt that Ramah has changed Fred’s opportunity to do at home. bunny hat at random, an Uncle Sam costume for the life. “Besides meeting my lifelong partner, it’s really Rachel Shuman, Machon Fourth of July, or a glittery red top hat to become Mar allowed me to think creatively and dynamically about Milon (Mr. Dictionary) in the Maholiah. The “Good Judaism,” he says. “Camp teaches a lot about the way ...the Jewish activities and being in Jewish Life Hug” he runs offers Mahaneh Aleph campers the of the world that I couldn’t have learned anywhere else. surroundings. You don’t feel like an outsider here. chance to do everything from eating jello without their What does it means to be part of a community? What Brooke Cowen, Shorashim hands to raiding the canteen and making frappes. does it mean to live together as a group? How do you Perhaps his biggest draw is when he pushes his 13- work as a team?” His Ramah experience has prepared ...how Ramah is so individual. The shtiks are so month-old daughter Kayla in her stroller or holds her him for congregational life, he says. “There’s nothing individual, like Friday night shirah and the pep rally. hand as she tries out her new walking skills. more intimidating than speaking in front of 95 twelve- You can’t describe it to anyone else. Ironically, Fred never experienced the joys of year-olds, so speaking in front of 200 congregants will Toby Irving, Bogrim camp as a child—he wasn’t ready to leave home. Born be pretty attainable.” in Montreal, he grew up in Alexandria, VA, and got ...the zip line. You hold onto a rope and jump off from the top of the rock wall and you feel like you’re ﬂying. Cecily Dreyfuss, Nitzanim ...the cinnamon buns on Friday mornings. I miss Creative Teﬁllah: Not Your Grandfather’s Minyan the whole atmosphere, especially Friday night when we’re all one community. During the school year camp is my goal so when I’m done with my work It sure didn’t look like a regular minyan. The tennis and studies I have a place to go and play sports courts in Mahaneh Aleph were decorated with posters and have fun. created by Solelim and Bogrim campers in their once- Josh Rubin, Bogrim a-week “art minyan.” Each poster featured one of the 19 blessings from the Amidah. Small groups of Cochavim, ...sports. They are a lot of fun and I learn many new Nitzanim, and Tzeirim stopped at each poster, read skills. the brief summary, discussed the drawings, answered Aytan Goodman, Gesher questions and recited the bracha. Avir Waxman, from Nitzanim, laughed when he ..my counselors and Rosh. They are cool, and we saw the drawing for “God, Giver of Knowledge” (honen have good moments. I miss Hug. Sometimes I ha-da’at). A cloud dropped a brain down into a stick miss Hashi. ﬁgure with its head open in half. “Hah, that’s funny. I Jeff Kaiser, Machon like it,” he said. “Why are you thankful for knowledge?” his counselor read from the poster. “I don’t want to be ...little things that have happened. Tiny stories, dumb. I want to stay safe,” answered Jacob Sherman. jokes, anything. The movies we watched in the A group of Tzeirim campers at Birkat Ha-kedushah bunk; an argument over soap in the shower. Silly discussed “What else is holy and set apart from stuff. I also remember music the counselors other things?” “Shabbat,” answered Amanda Zucker. have played. “Holidays,” said L.E. Weinstein, “and food.” “Me,” said Aaron Paul, Gesher Arielle Gleaner. “We thought about the prayers in a different way,” ...love and caring. No one cares how you look. It’s Avir said, after his group completed their unusual not materialistic. Everyone is together. It’s like a davening. “Instead of just saying them and not thinking bubble, your own world. about their meaning, here we said them and thought Margalit Carlin, Solelim about it, too.” That is, in fact, the goal of the creative teﬁllah program at Ramah. Mahaneh Aleph campers had a taste of what they have to look forward to: Once a week, Mahaneh Bet campers can choose to attend a creative minyan, ranging from the art minyan to yoga at the Agam, Learn-to-Lead, and “God Questions.” Including a regular full davening, Machon and Gesher have ﬁve choices; Solelim and Bogrim have eight choices. Reciting the Shema and the Amidah are the minimum In the pagoda by the softball ﬁeld, Scholar-in- requirements. Campers choose one option for each Residence Rabbi Bob Goldenberg invited campers month. to pose their “God questions:” Why is there evil in In “Teﬁllah through Lyrics,” anything from Bon the world? If you don’t believe in God, how do you Jovi to “High School Musical” connects to teﬁllah. approach the Torah? How do you explain all the In the “All-English Extravaganza,” some campers inexplicable things in the Bible, like talking donkeys? either realize Hebrew is vital to their davening or ﬁnd “It’s nice to see the kids so articulate and thoughtful,” meaning in the English poetry, says Rosh Teﬁllah, Sara Rabbi Goldenberg said later. “These are questions I Stave. The smaller minyanim impart a more intimate think about but I don’t ever ask out loud,” said Gesher ﬂavor, she adds. “We want the kids to have a variety of camper Adi Stein. “Now they are getting answered.” experiences, confront the teﬁllot and make personal meaning out of them.” August 2006 Page 4 It’s Never Late Too Become A Bat Mitzvah…And More On August 4th, Lital Shaltiel was called up to the Torah times, Lital says: “My heart was pounding like I had at Camp Ramah in the Berkshires as a bat mitzvah. stage fright. My voice trembled. When I was done, the No big deal, right? We have plenty of b’nai mitzvah at candy started ﬂying at me. The entire mishlahat got up camp! But Lital is not a typical bat mitzvah of 12 or 13. and danced, siman tov u’mazal tov, and David melech She’s a returning member of our Israeli mishlahat. Yisrael, and lifted me up in a chair. It was one of the Only a few weeks earlier, Lital decided to start best days of my life,” she adds, her face glowing. wearing tallit and teﬁllin, though last year she thought Lital, who lives in Herzliyah and wants to be a tour it “very strange”—even forbidden—for women to do guide in Israel, grew up in a secular family, though so. “This year I decided I’d try new things,” says Lital, her father used to be an assistant hazan. She worries 21. “Camp Ramah is the only place I can do that. When that her parents might be offended at her new-found she puts on her tallit, Lital says, she feels as if she is observance. “I will explain that it makes me feel good. more committed to the teﬁllah. “I’m participating—not Getting up in the morning and praying makes my day just taking the siddur and reading. Because I am more go better, purer. When I say Elohai n’tzor l’shoni me-ra immersed in it I can concentrate better.” [My God, guard my tongue from evil], I say it aloud so I Lital took the next step—being called up for an really mean it and then try to put it into practice. Saying aliyah—and then the next—learning to read Torah. the bracha, ha-noten la-ya’ef ko’ah [God gives strength to Other staff members encouraged her: Lawrence the weary], gives me energy to continue the day.” Szenes-Strauss, music specialist and cantorial student, When she returns to Israel, she hopes to attend helped her with tallit and teﬁllin; Rosh Teﬁllah Sara Stave services at Conservative congregations near her home. suggested she read six lines of parashat Ekev during “This is the age when you discover yourself,” she says. Shabbat minhah and guided her with the reading. “I’m still in the process of learning.” Lital made ofﬁcial invitations and gave them out to the In case you’re wondering, kadma v’azla is her 35 mishlahat members, as well as other staff and her favorite trope note. Tzeirim tzrif. Though she had practiced innumerable Our Letters To Israeli Soldiers Letters to Israel Soldiers that were written in Ivrit class. Page 5 August 2006 AUGUST ALBUM 2006 August 2006 Page 6 August 2006 Page 7 A Show of Hands: Cochavim Sign On For Teﬁllah Walk into the Hadar Ochel towards the end of any meal and you will see kids making crowns above their heads with their hands, crossing their arms in front of their chests, and placing one ﬁst on top of another. Their leader is Hinda Eisen, a 19-year- old Cochavim counselor who, with her co-counselor Tamar Birnbaum, created a distinctive sign language for Birkat Hamazon and other prayers. The signs are based on the meaning of the words, Hinda explains. Melech (king) or a related word gets a crown. Tov (good) or any word with that root gets a “thumbs-up” sign. For the phrase Me’afelah l’orah, from darkness to light, Hinda and the kids cover their faces with their hands and then uncover them. Boneh (build) is represented by the ﬁsts, and yagen (will shield) inspired the arms across the chest. “It makes the words come alive,” Hinda says. Hinda, who is studying special education at Boston University, learned hand motions for the Shema at a children’s minyan in her synagogue when she was in second grade; later, she helped lead the minyan. She continues to use these signs during the Shema. “I’m big on different ways to express ourselves. Not everyone perceives the same thing in the same way,” she says. She was inspired to create the signs for Birkat Hamazon in a session Rabbi Eliezer Diamond led during staff week, encouraging new ideas to engage campers during teﬁllah. “It’s a great learning opportunity,” says Rosh Cochavim Eve Eichenholtz. “Our kids don’t bang on the table because they are busy doing something else with their hands. It creates more interactivity and that is a strength.” Intercamp Sports Means Competition And Camaraderie This summer’s sports program was not only about competition but also about building camaraderie. According to Rosh Sport Zach Seiden, the games CRB played against Ramah in the Poconos, Joel Ross Tennis Camp and Surprise Lake helped develop inter-camp connections and team bonding. On July 30, for example, Poconos hosted us at their camp. While CRB won a ”signiﬁcant majority” of the games, Israeli music blasting on the kikar, kids doing rikud during the games, and a limud session on Jewish values enriched the atmosphere of the day. In addition to the classic games–basketball, baseball, tennis and more–campers competed in drama games, cycling and sailing (in Hebrew, pronounced sha’yeet). “We intermingled both Ramahs and had fun playing,” Zach says. The competition on July 14 with Joel Ross extended beyond tennis to volleyball, boys’ basketball and soccer. CRB won the basketball and volleyball matches but lost the soccer, though our team gave it their all. The tennis was very competitive. Surprise Lake invited CRB and Camp Monroe to participate in a three-camp meet on July 18 (CRB lost in boys’ basketball but won volleyball), and again hosted a four-team soccer tournament on August 10, this time adding Camp Kindering. It was a hard ﬁght but we lost 3-2, 3-2 and 5-1. “I like the fact that there is more than one game to look forward to this summer,” says Eliana Goodman, who plays on the girls’ varsity basketball team. “It’s so much more fun.” “The girls on the volleyball team come from three edot,” says Naomi Queen, a Gesher counselor. “They never would have bonded the way they did if we didn’t have more games to play.” The girls’ volleyball team won every game they played, except the one against Palmer. “The kids practice 60 hours over the summer. If they don’t win, it doesn’t mean they failed,” Zach explains. “It also gives us the chance to build closeness as a team and come back with stories of fun things that happened.” We intermingled both Ramahs and had fun playing. August 2006 Page 8 More Than Ever, Celebrating Israel—Ramah Style For a few days in August, the golf cart used on ordinary days for trucking supplies and people around camp becomes a traveling Israeli ﬂag, festooned with a string of blue and white. And all you hear around camp are Hashi! Hashi! cries of Hashi! Hashi! Hashi stands for Hatzi Shavua Yisrael, half a week dedicated to celebrating Israel. But to Camp Ramah in the Berkshires, it means so much more. What stands out is the singing, dancing and unbelievable enthusiasm of the mishlahat. It begins right after a camp-wide havdalah service at the amphitheater, when the mishlahat comes running through, introducing the song for the week, “Shalom Aleichem”—not the Friday night standard but a version by Ehud Manor and Mati Caspi, sung by Boaz Sharabi. The mishlahat teaches hand movements they’ve created to accompany the song and soon you can’t stop the hands from waving in the air. “The mishlahat puts 100 percent into it,” says Bogrim camper Celine Katz. Each morning, the mishlahat puts on a short skit highlighting the theme of this year’s Hashi: Al ta’am v’al reah ein l’hitvake’ah (Tastes differ: Each according to his or her own taste). Then “Shalom Aleichem” starts blasting again, and campers can’t resist waving their hands, even those formerly engrossed in their French toast. Evening programs integrate the ﬂavors of Israel. In Shuk B’Ramah, by answering questions or by paying with artiﬁcial “shekalim,” campers “buy” pita and humus, fruit, rugelach, Bisli snacks, burekas, “tiras ham” (hot corn), and chocolate balls made from a concoction of graham crackers, cocoa, sugar and oil, rolled in sprinkles. At the pastry stand, mishlahat member Hila Nachman asks a variety of food-related questions. “What is `Elite?’ A vegetable, candy company or fast food?” When the camper gives the right answer (candy company), Hila screams in delight, “Hashi!” and hands him a pastry. “The market is the best thing in Israel,” Hila says later. “Everyone is so happy. It’s bringing a piece of Israel to the States. We want to show the kids it can still be safe to go to those places.” “It’s important for the campers to recognize the basic things about Israel, like culture, which includes learning Hebrew and enjoying the shuk,” adds Or Cohen. After the shuk is over, two boys walk back to their bunk, discussing the crisis in Israel. “It’s still good to have joyous things,” says Alec Krosser, from Bogrim. “We only hear bad things now.” “These are the best three days of the summer. Everyone is so pumped up and everyone participates,” says Adam Karp. The second night, the mishlahat presents the “ﬁrst-ever” Hashi performance, transmitting their love for the land through song, dance and video. The centerpiece of the third night, a carnival, features 16 stations, including: Pin the tie on Israeli politicians; get the hockey puck through the gates of Jerusalem; guess how many pieces of Bisli are in a bag (62); relax in the Dead Sea through guided imagery; do the limbo while singing Adon Olam and Eliyahu Hanavi; a sack race; and a campﬁre with nana tea. Some campers love Hashi so much they are lobbying for a full week. But then we’d have to change the name from Hashi to...Shi? (It just doesn’t have the same ring to it.) “I tried Israeli food I never tried before, like falafel and tehina, says Matt Horowitz, Tzeirim. “I felt closer to Israel.” Avi Greenstein, a Gesher camper who lives in Jerusalem, says, “Hashi is a nice taste of home. It’s perfect.” Michal Chacham, Rosh Mishlahat, remembers how Hashi, which is unique to CRB, was born four years ago. A one-day Yom Yisrael was extended to three days. “Our goal this year,” she says, “is to show the kids that with all the battles and war there’s still life in Israel. We tried to let the kids see Israel in a fun and different way.” Keeping their own spirits up was tough for the mishlahat, she admits.“We had to keep working even though some knew people who were killed. But from the minute of the Hashi breakout, when everyone kept shouting, Hashi! Hashi! that’s all everyone talked about. When the mishlahat saw the love and the song and the movement...it gave a lot to the mishlahat, even more than we gave the kids.” “Hey, shalom aleichem...hoi, kulam b’yahad; hoi, v’od ha-pa’am; hoi, la-ha’im yesh od atid, ken, ken, tagid mah she-lo tagid! As the song says, there is a future. —With reporting by Ilana Saltz, Machon August 2006 Page 9 Clowning Around: We Take It Seriously Lifeguard Training: Home-grown Protection The Tzeirim girls are in a bad mood, but that Late at night in Bunk B-9 you can ﬁnd Matthew Murray, a Machon camper, sitting doesn’t stop them from clowning—literally. in his bright green camp chair with a ﬂashlight over his textbook. You might not Naomi Weinblatt and Rachel Richman take the associate camp with studying hard, but Matthew is preparing to take his LGT, or “stage:” the grass in front of the big rock in the lifeguard training test, and he has many quizzes and “practicals” to pass. kikar. Adam Gindea, a Tzeirim counselor and Although many people think LGT is strictly swimming and saving people, mitzvah clown who runs a behirah on clowning, it requires a lot of hard work both in and outside the Agam. The classes, which explains the rules of the ﬁrst exercise of the meet ﬁve times a week, cover CPR, rescue breathing, how to identify and respond day. “A lot of clowning is the way you present to emergencies, and more. This year, ten Machon campers and one staff member yourself. Just the way you stand can make people enrolled in LGT; six campers and the staff member passed. “It’s a lot of work and a laugh. This exercise teaches you how to hold your lot of expectation,” says Rosh Mayim Mark Neustadt. “If kids want to take the exam, body without really saying anything. The only they understand the work involved,” says Jenna Rubinoff, director of lifeguarding thing you can say is yes or no.” certiﬁcation and ﬁrst aid. “It’s self-motivated.” “Yes, yes, no, no, no, yes,” Rachel and Naomi Matthew says that he took LGT because he hopes to come back on swim staff. say alternately, adopting different nuances and body language. Adam demonstrates “It’s a good life skill to have,” he says. with Rachel, his face chameleon-like—sad, smiling, grimacing—his voice changing accordingly—soft, pleading, shouting. —Jeffrey Kaiser and Tyler Martin “Being a clown is like being another person,” Adam explains. “You are allowed Machon to be crazy. People let down their guard automatically when they see a clown. That’s how I can go into a nursing home and tell an elderly person, `You’re sitting in my seat!’” In one of the skits Adam does with the kids, two people walk on opposite sides of the street. One wants to say hello; the other doesn’t. “The skits start off with one or two simple concepts and build on mistakes and mess-ups. You can have a planned routine but you never know what will happen,” Adam says. Adam completed a six-month, six-hour-a-week course for high school students in 2005 called Lev Leytzan (Heart of a Clown) near his hometown of Lawrence, N.Y. Neal Goldberg, a psychologist in the community, was inspired by Patch Adams to start a Jewish clowning institute that taught the psychology of humor, medical hygiene and the art of clowning, from magic to juggling. The graduates work in hospital or nursing home settings. “Laughter helps healing,” says Adam, who hopes to continue clowning when he enters the JTS/Columbia joint program in the fall. The behirah Adam leads at camp focuses on basic skills, training exercises, and make-up. “He taught us the mind of a clown,” says Maya Haber. “You have to put the clown makeup all over your face,” says Cara Leiderman. “When you have it on you can get away with a lot more things.” Adam and three campers—Maya, Naomi and Gabby Shames—even put on a show for the staff children. In one skit, Maya is reading a newspaper and eating potato chips when Adam walks in behind her, starts eating chips and reading over her shoulder. In the second skit, Gabby reads instructions from a book for a magic trick. “Take out a yellow bandana,” she says. Adam takes out a yellow banana instead. “Swing it around your head and fold it in two,” she reads. That gets very messy. In the end, however, Adam manages to turn the banana into a red handkerchief, the ultimate goal of the trick. “I mess everything up but it turns out all right in the end,” says Adam, acknowledging the life lesson but adding: “The messages are there, but the kids are just having a good time.” Camper Proﬁle: New Machon Bogrim’s Mystic-al Trip Camper Shares His Thoughts The irony of Mystic, CT, is that at home, You may be familiar with Edat Machon, especially if you attend Friday night shirah: most of us Bogrimers would consider it We are sooo loud! But does everyone know the only new Machon camper this year? either a quaint, historic restoration or Probably not, since he has meshed so well with an edah that has been together as the backdrop for Julia Roberts’ since the new millennium. We caught up with Dennis Bize, who was sitting breakout ﬁlm. However, after cheerfully on his porch. being somewhat removed from the world at large for Q: Why did you want to come to camp? ﬁve weeks, that “sleepy old A: All my friends were here, so I thought, “Okay, I’ll come too.” One friend especially town” felt more like a thriving got me really excited. metropolis, teeming with history and souvenirs. Q: What is your favorite part of camp? Our ﬁrst stop was Mystic A: Yahadut and chilling on the porch, like right now. Seaport, where we took in o rt eap And Al Hagova. the sights, shuttle boat rides, ic S enjoyed some air conditioning yst and savored the “buy-one-get-one- M Q: What did you think of Hashi? of A: I love Hashi! It’s so intense and crazy! I thought free” creamy fudge. We loaded the sy rt e u I wouldn’t be ready for it but I loved it. In the Hashi buses with our pockets lighter and co to ho performance on the second night, the video in which the sun blazing stronger. p campers were interviewed was so funny! At “Olde Mystick Village,” we explored the streets, tried on silly hats, Q: What is your favorite food at canteen? bought some bunk gifts and slowly ate our ice cream to make it last as A: Probably the sundaes, especially the chocolate one. long as possible. Some of us explored the old-time pharmacies and And strawberry Frozfruits. I’m an ice cream kind of guy. antique sweet shops. Our visit did not include the famous “Mystic Pizza,” but on the Q: Do you think you’d like to come back as staff? way home, one of the buses watched the movie that has given the town If so, what would you be? part of its fame. A: I like camp, and the best part is probably We returned late to the cocoon of our camp with a taste Al Hagova. I went on every Tismonet trip. I think of the outside world—as well as a deeper appreciation for I’d come back on Al Hagova staff. Camp Ramah’s seclusion. —Sydney Appelbaum and Samantha Hitt Machon —Shoshana Klayman and Dana Kraushar Bogrim August 2006 Page 10 Worth A Shot: Ramah Welcomes Bring Home a Taste of Ramah Top-ﬂight Athletic Coaches Chicken Soup “Shake it up, shake it up,” calls basketball coach Brandi Millis. “Set a screen so From Aby’s Kitchen you’re open. We’re playing no dribble.” Rebecca Mack, 12, has the ball at half court. She passes the ball, cuts towards the basket so she’s close enough for a shot, catches In a pot with cold water mix the following: Chicken bones, carrots, celery, onions, the ball and shoots it in. “Come on guys, go, go, go,” says Brandi. parsnips, leeks, whole garlic cloves, bay leaf and whole pepper. Bring slowly to a boil, A professional coach, Brandi visited Berkshires on August 8 to work with skim the top, simmer 5 hours. Do not disturb the contents. Strain the broth, season campers of all ages on skill development in passing, dribbling, and defense. “My with salt and pepper to taste. Cook ﬁne noodles separately, then add fresh dill. goal is to teach them a little about the game as opposed to just playing games,” says Brandi, who played for the University of Richmond as well as the ﬁrst division of Peanut Butter Sauce for Pasta Galil Elyon, the Israeli professional league. “The challenge is to motivate the kids to From Al Hagova participate and also have a good time.” To enhance sports instruction with college-level coaching, CRB hosted three 1/2 cup peanut butter (crunchy is better) professional coaches this summer: the other two were baseball coach John Szefc and 1/4 tsp. garlic powder Five Star basketball. “We did drills and learned ways to set screens and get open,” 2 Tbsp. vinegar (optional) says Rebecca, a budding basketball star. “If you can’t get open you can’t take a shot. 3 Tbsp. dry milk (optional) If you can’t take a shot, you can’t score and then you can’t win. I like running around 1 cup hot water and getting a lot of exercise. I like the competition. It’s satisfying when you hear the 1 1/2 Tbsp. soy sauce ball swish in the hoop.” cayenne pepper “It takes the boys about three minutes to see that I am really a basketball player,” says Brandi. “I tell them I was in their place not long ago. For a woman to make a Heat water, remove from burner, and add other ingredients. If you need to reheat, do career in athletics is still pretty tough, so it’s nice to be a role model. Through my so carefully. Peanut butter loves to scorch your pan. Excellent on spaghetti noodles. years growing up I had so many people inﬂuence me as an athlete. If there’s one kid today practicing some things I showed them to make them better basketball players, I’ll have accomplished my goal.” RECIPES Chinese Whisker Doodles From Bubbe’s Mitbahon 16-oz. package chocolate chips 5 1/2-oz. can Chinese noodles Nuts or mini marshmallows, optional Melt chocolate chips over low heat. Remove from stove. If desired, stir in noodles and optional ingredients. Drop by teaspoon on cookie sheet lined with waxed paper. Refrigerate. Makes 3-4 dozen cookies. Learning About Giving: We Just Do It! Chocolate Balls From the Mishlahat 2 packages graham crackers (there are usually three in a box) Jacob Goldenberg sits on a stool in the Mitbahon waiting for a batch of chocolate 6 Tbsp. cocoa powder cupcakes he helped make come out of the oven. The cupcakes are not for him or his 6 Tbsp. sugar Gesher friends but for a homeless shelter. “We’re in a good camp. We have enough 1/2 cup oil or butter food to eat and a place to sleep,” Jacob says. “But not everyone has that. And it’s 1/3 cup water or milk important for us to help. Tzedakah is an integral part of Gesher.” sprinkles or coconut, optional Jacob helped make one batch before campers from Mahaneh Aleph troop in to bake some more. The cupcakes are then transported to the tennis courts, where Crush graham crackers. Add all liquids and powders and mix into one giant ball. another group frosts and bags the cupcakes. Separate into smaller balls. Dip in sprinkles or coconut. Refrigerate for an hour and The cupcake-baking is part of a special Yom Tzedakah that Gesher is serve. Makes about 20 balls. coordinating for Mahaneh Aleph, with hands-on projects whose ultimate goal is hesed. “Everything you make today you’re donating,” explains Naomi Queen, the Gesher counselor supervising Yom Tzedakah, to the campers gathered around her ready to head off in one of four directions. In addition to the cupcakes, there is also a t-shirt tie-dying station and pillow-decorating. On the basketball court, bags of Polyﬁl stufﬁng, pillowcases and markers await campers’ creativity. The pillows are to be donated to a hospital. Jason Gurevitch, a Cochavim camper, explains his pillow, decorated with a purple heart inside a red cross, which he says is the symbol for a hospital. Jason likes the project because, he says, “you don’t know who you’re helping, but inside you know you’re helping.” During July, Gesher also organized a dance for Mahaneh Bet—with admission by paid ticket—that raised $570. Tzedakah activities during the second month included selling bracelets on Visiting Day and at the Nyack-CRB staff basketball game, and organizing a tzedakah sports night. According to Annie Zaks, head of the Gesher tzedakah committee for the ﬁrst month, proceeds from the event were sent to an Israel Youth Sport Center for the Disabled, for children affected by terrorist attacks. “We researched different organizations on the Internet. This was just right because it’s Israel and it’s helping our peers.” August 2006 Page 11 Great Role Models At Sixteen Gesher campers take their age seriously. Being in the oldest edah, they say, means serving as role models. The Ozer(Assistantship) program helps them to do just that. Allison Reed has been a camper for six years and this summer is helping out with Gan and Haverim in Omanut. “Art is something I like to do,” she says, “and this is a good way to learn more. The staff really knows what they’re doing.” Being an ozeret, she adds, is more than just being a camper. “It’s another way to prepare us to go out into the world and become counselors.” The program, says Rosh Gesher Ari Perten, bridges the transition year from camper to tzevet, provides training towards serving on specialty staff and allows campers to focus on their own interests in one of four areas: Omanut, Al Hagova, Sports or Agam. In addition to devoting an hour and a half each day, ﬁve days a week, to help in the area they choose, the ozrim meet once a week with the Rosh and enjoy one-on-one training. Each of the four groups has a culminating activity: the sports ozrim went to a WNBA Liberty game, for example, and the Agam ozrim went waterskiing. “I want to help with something I’m good at,” says Hallie Dunn, an ozeret for Shorashim and Tzeirim in Hug basketball. “I teach them what I know and play games with them. It means a lot more coming from us because they look up to us. We’re their C.I.T.s.” Jeremy Kimmelstiel, an Al Hagova ozer, helps campers climb the rock wall and learn how to make campﬁres. “Gesher’s about new experiences, a new frontier at camp,” says Daniel Eida, an ozer at the Agam. Last year I took LGT—lifeguard training—and I got certiﬁcation. So I help with lifeguarding. It’s cool because I remember last year when I was on the other side—so it’s easy to communicate with the kids and give them tips.” Being an ozer, he adds, “gives us more responsibility and a sense of individuality. The Perfect Time Is Always When her son Isaiah was born in 2003, Sarah Sokolic (Gesher ’88) started the Ramah Baby Association, a playgroup and support network for Ramah mothers from all camps. RBA now has more than 35 names on its mailing list, and between 8 and 12 moms (and sometimes dads) meet every Monday afternoon in Manhattan. Many families are now on their second babies. RBA is only one of the events that the Ramah Alumni Association plans and hosts. Sunday morning brunches, Shabbat dinners, and the original RBA—the Ramah Basketball Association, now in its tenth year—allows old friends to get together, reminisce, and enjoy each other’s company. On July 9, over 30 alumni from Gesher ‘96 reunited at camp, toured the new facilities, shared stories with this year’s Gesher, played against this year’s softball hug, and even pulled out a marginal victory. You’re never too young—or too old—for camp. Newspaper Credits: Camp Ramah in the Berkshires 25 Rockwood Place Rabbi Paul Resnick Englewood, NJ 07631 Director Rabbi Amy Roth Assistant Director Steven Eisen Business Manager Elana Gershen Director of Development Rahel Musleah Editor/Writer Lisa Clarkson Project Manager Sarah Chabon Graphic Design Lisa Krivitsky Photographer Steve Goldstein President Mifgash Ramah is published by Camp Ramah in the Berkshires. We welcome letters to the editor, a selection of which will be included in the next issue. Please address all correspondence to Mifgash Ramah, Camp Ramah in the Berkshires, 25 Rockwood Place, Englewood, NJ 07631 or by email to email@example.com. We reserve the right to edit letters for length and clarity. For more information on CRB, please click on www.ramahberkshires.org.