Shabbat Letter from the Director #7 2019

Thanks to

  • Kochavim Bet campers

  • 29 (!!) members of Nivonim 1994 who joined us for their 25th reunion

  • Rabbi Mitch Cohen, Director of the National Ramah Commission

  • Yossi Garr, Director of the Nativ College Leadership Program in Israel

  • Devorah Goodman from the iCenter

  • Lori Kramer, Director of Education at Moriah Congregation in Deerfield, IL

  • Rabbi Zachary Silver, Rav Beit Sefer at the Rochelle Zell Jewish High School in Deerfield, IL

  • Our amazing Shavua Bogrim team:  filmmaker Dan Tatar, stand-up comedian Jeremy Drazner (Nivo ’08), dancer Kayla Bryan (Nivo ’07), and carpenter Jacob Shapiro (Nivo ’98)

for spending time with us at camp this summer!

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Last week I wrote about the calm between the storms.  This week was indeed a storm.  A storm of swings and stand-up; a Broadway musical and waterparks; foam, foam, and more foam. 

Storm story 1:  “The Potatoes of Camp Ramah in Wisconsin”

If you’ve watched any of our camp-wide events in person or on livestream you’ve seen the ruach (energy) of the Alufei Ha’ashpah (“Aces of Trash”) ceremony, when, with the help of some campers, I award T-shirts to campers recognized for their help in keeping camp clean.  We play and dance to a jingle before and after giving out the shirts.  This summer that ritual has been borrowed and adapted by the Shoafim, Bogrim, Machon, and Tikvah campers.  In their dining hall, at any meal during which potatoes are served, they give out not the Alufei Ha’ashpah but the Tapuchei Ha’adamah (potatoes) of Camp Ramah in Wisconsin.  Cabin 10 sings a modified version of the jingle and then awards a plate of the potato product to a number of victors.

Storm story 2:  “Shake and Pop on the Kikar”

With Machon on its weeklong tour of Wisconsin and Bogrim on a yetziah (field trip) as part of Shavua Bogrim, Shoafim (who had just returned from their own out-of-camp volunteering and watching The Lion King at the Vilas Cinema to bring their summer full circle - pun intended),  Solelim and Halutzim enjoyed a free-flowing dance game called “Shake and Pop” during dinner Wednesday night!

Storm story 3:  “Solelim does Disney Animated Movies”

The Solelim girls did a series of cabin activities and assigned each girl a classic character from a Disney movie.  Girls dressed up for dinner on Monday, put on a fashion show, and sat with their partner from the other cabin.  Flounder, Sebastian, Mad Hatter, Alice, Lady, and the Tramp all made an appearance during an epic evening.

What is the storm?  It’s the clouds gathering on the horizon as we enter into the final stretch of the summer.  It’s the Bogrim campers performing stand-up routines and building three new swings around camp, participating in an intensive dance workshop and scripting and filming a short movie as part of Shavua Bogrim.  It’s the Halutzim girls being woken by their counselors late last night for games and star gazing on the tennis courts.  It’s the Nivonim campers working in groups on their cabin plaques, a series of complex games and contests for the last week of camp, and an intensive drama workshop. 

Next week the storm comes to a head, echoing the full last week of our first session with an even fuller last week of the summer:  Machon and Tikvah perform Legally Blonde, our Rikudiyah dance festival, an early morning polar bear swim, basketball skills competition, and the final mishmar, Friday night, and havdalah of the summer.  On next Shabbat each aidah will work on wrapping up the summer: summarizing weeks of memories and growth.  Bus notes will be written, final games of roofball and spikeball and two-bounce will be played.

Storms feed off energy and water.  Water, of course, is synonymous with both life and Torah in our Jewish tradition.  It is the energetic expression of lived Torah and our campers’ and staff members’ exuberance that fuels these final weeks of the summer.

Shabbat Shalom,
Jacob

Questions to ask your camper this week:

Ruach Ramah B: What was your favorite part of Yom Sport? What did you make in Omanut?

Halutzim:  Which science experiments did you see on Yom Meyuchad? How was the camping trip?

Solelim:  How did your tribe make a shelter using only a tarp on Yom “Survivor”?  What band were you a part of for “Battle of the bands” and what song did you perform?

Shoafim: What did you do during your volunteering on the yetziah?

Bogrim:  Which track did you take part in during Shavua Bogrim?  What did you name your egg, and did it survive the week?

Machon:  What was your favorite part of the tiyyul (trip)?  What volunteer project did you work on at United Way?

Tikvah:  Which aidah were you involved with this week?  How was it?  What’s it like making cholent and challah every Friday? 

Nivonim: What was your favorite part of the musical?   What type of cabin activity did you run for your CIT campers this week?  What did you create in your proyekt?

Atzmayim:  What do you do during Coffee Club?