by Louisa Kornblatt, Rosh Bogrim 

This past week, during Shavua Bogrim, our entering 9th graders had the opportunity to break from the regular routine and participate in a variety of special projects. A handful of professionals visited camp to work specifically with Bogrim. Each morning they met with the same group of campers to work intensely on a project.

Josh Lake, an outdoor Jewish educator, led a group into the woods where they learned various survival skills. Rachel Cohen, an alumna of the Ramah who works for a TV production company in Chicago, taught campers how to construct their own promotional videos. Zehorit Heilicher, an educator in the Twin Cities, led a guided tour of cuisines as campers prepared a traditional meal from a different area of the world each day. Another group of campers found their own voice and explored creative writing with Ilana Blumberg, an award-winning author, professor of creative writing at Bar Ilan University, and alumna of Ramah. Rabbi Ben Kramer, the new rabbi of Moriah Congregation in Deerfield, Illinois, introduced Bogrimers to the art of blacksmithing. Under his guidance, they learned how to manipulate different kinds of metal and each fashioned their own mezuzot to take home. Lastly, Henry Bernstein, an alum of Ramah and educator at the Chicago Jewish Day School, delved into the world of comic books, graphic novels and superheroes with his group to learn about the history of comic book figures and create their own superheroes.

Beyond working directly with such incredible professionals, the campers also enjoyed informal bonding experiences with their aidah-mates. With Machon on their trip around Wisconsin, Bogrim spent quality time hanging out on the point–a beautiful corner of camp that juts out into the water normally designated for Machon programming. The campers played Frisbee and ate dinner and s’mores during an aidah bonfire The staff planned a variety of fun programs for the kids during the course of the week, including capture the flag using boats on Lake Buckatabon, cupcake making in the new Moadon Tikvah, human Mario Kart, an activity with powder paint, and a visit to Minocqua to see a performance by their premier amateur water ski club. The week was jam packed with special activities and the entire aidah had an amazing time as they grew even closer.