On June 25, 2006, Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was captured by Hamas and is now being held captive in Gaza. Today, in an attempt to show support for Shalit and his family, Machon campers and staff have created a tent on the porch of the art complex. The outside of the tent is eye-catching, with a large photo of Shalit and many colorful cloths that wave in the wind. The inside of the tent is beautiful–multicolored post-it notes are scattered across the walls with messages of peace and hope written by campers and staff; posters with quotations from the Torah inspire everyone who visits; Israeli flags fly with pride. (Check back on the Bunk 1 site tomorrow for more photos of the tent, inside and out).

For 24 hours, starting Thursday morning and going through Friday morning, Machon campers and staff will be sitting in the tent giving out information on Shalit and encouraging the rest of the camp community to think about Shalit and his family and to write letters to the Shalit family and to United States Congresspeople.

Machon chose a tent because Shalit's family set up a tent outside the Prime Minister's home in Jerusalem. They hope that by having their tent open for 24 hours, they will help create awareness throughout camp and help everyone to understand the situation.

Abby K. and Sam B. of Machon shared one of the shifts in the tent.  Abby said this project is important to her because "Israel is important to me. It's our Jewish homeland. Gilad Shalit was a member of the Israeli army and it is important to support him." Sam was glad they were doing the project because "many people have never heard of Gilad Shalit and education is the most important thing."

Machon counselor Katie Minkus summed up the experience: "It has been an amazing experience to see campers step up and take it upon themselves to honor Gilad Shalit. They've done an amazing job and I'm so excited for camp to be part of the experience as well."

Good luck to Machon as they continue their project through tonight and tomorrow morning. Good luck to Gilad Shalit and his family–the Camp Ramah community is thinking of you.