Shabbat Letter from the Director #6 2019

Thanks to

  • All the visitors who joined us at our full-season Visitors Days on Sunday and Monday

  • Marc Sender, Anne Hope, and Daniel Warshawsky from CHUSY/CRUSY/EMTZA

  • Ariana Hershon from Congregation B’nai Tikvah in Deerfield, IL

  • Eric Goldberg from Congregation Beth Shalom in Northbrook, IL

  • Rabbi Tamar Grimm and Barry Golob from Beth Jacob Congregation in Mendota Heights, MN

  • Rabbi Alexander Davis and Esther Goldberg-Davis from Beth El Synagogue in St. Louis Park, MN

  • Hazzan Jeremy Lipton from the Talmud Torah of Minneapolis

  • Paula Harris and Donna Kahan from JUF of Chicago

  • Danielle Baron from Hillel at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

  • Sarah Cytryn from Ramah Programs in Israel

  • Todd Clauer and Mirra Klausner from Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy in Kansas City

for spending time with us at camp this summer!

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Camp this week feels like the calm between storms. Even more than the rest of the summer, the first two weeks of July are filled to the gills:  Yom Sport, 4th of July, the first musicals of the summer, the end of first session, and the run-up to Visitors Days. Similarly, the last two weeks of camp are action packed with the Machon trip around Wisconsin, Shavua Bogrim clinics, special initiatives for Nivonim running in parallel to final preparations for their musical, end-of-season projects for Halutzim, Solelim, and Shoafim, and the general buzz of anticipation (and regret) as we approach the end of the summer.

After relatives and friends gave us the best hugs and then departed on Monday afternoon, we returned to the calm and nurturing rhythms of the first weeks of camp. Amazing moments are never far away – island swims, inter-aidah softball and basketball games, the Bogrim musical, homemade chummus and pita from the mitbachon (teaching kitchen), Solelim and Shoafim sadnaot (workshops), wonderful out-of-camp trips for Kochavim B and Halutzim. Overall the general tone this week has been one of relaxation. Kids happily moving from activity to activity, waterfront to omanut (art) to tennis to ivrit (Hebrew); jogging around camp with friends; throwing Frisbees and roofballs. Campers were offered “t’fil-ectives” (prayer electives) on Tuesday during morning services. They chose from staff led sessions in yoga, meditation, soulful singing or participating in a traditional Shacharit service.  

The amazing thing about this past week is how similar camp feels to the first weeks of the summer and how different the campers look and act. These are not new arrivals getting into the camp groove. They are not learning the names of their counselors, reconnecting with peer groups, and navigating how to make the most of their 2019 Ramah summer. They are now seasoned residents of Conover, fully inhabiting their summer home, deeply enmeshed in the rituals and rhythms of their cabin, aidah, and the camp as a whole. In this regard, they are actually more relaxed, more ready for new challenges and new successes. They are benefiting from the groundwork we laid for them in mid-June that will continue to reap its rewards through the early morning of August 5th and well beyond. This extended middle of the summer is a time for campers to confidently channel the miraculous potential of camp. It is a time of pure magic; a time when the power of the Ramah experience creates the next generation of engaged Jews.

Shabbat Shalom,
Jacob

Questions to ask your camper this week:

Kochavim B:  What did you try on the ropes course? Where did you go on your yitziyah (field trip)?

Halutzim:  What was your favorite part of Yom Back to the Future?

Solelim:  What was your favorite real life computer game on Yom Technology?

Shoafim: What was your favorite rotation in the Harry Potter activity? What have you done this week in your tzedakah chug?

Bogrim:  What was your favorite part of the play? What track are you doing for Shavua Bogrim?

Machon:  What ending did you get for the choose-your-own-adventure on Wednesday?

Tikvah:  What was your favorite challenge in Silent Library with Atzmayim?

Nivonim: (For Girls) What was your favorite thing about your yimei binyan? (For Boys) Who was your canoe partner and what was your favorite part of the canoe trip?

Atzmayim:  What was one new job task you tried this week? What was your favorite activity on your day off on Wednesday?