Sunday, August 15
Our last Shabbat in Machane was a beauty! It was a spirited, inspiring, fun Shabbat with hours and hours of singing and dancing! By the fourth Shabbat, the chanichim know exactly what to do and when, and so they gave it their all. After some rain on Friday night during dinner, all of Shabbat day was perfect weather, so everyone had their fourth and last chavruta-time, finishing up whatever they had learned together, and friends could hang out on the grass and play board games. We sang our favorite song (“Adon Olam”) at seudah shlishit, and chanichim of all ages and genders sang loudly and in unison. Some were crying and hugging, thinking about how sad they would be to go home.
It was a full day of peulot here today, everyone getting in their last requests for their favorite activities, including paint tag, pita making, climbing wall, and agam. Each bunk was also given a peulah to go shopping at the “Stonewear Shack” and purchase camp swag/merch – sweatshirts, t-shirts, pants, water bottles, string bags, hats and more! They had no trouble spending the $40 that was put into their account – and they were all in their new clothes for dinner 🙂 They were so excited and cozy!!
In shiur today, the chanichim experienced how the halachic discussions in the Torah she-Ba’al Peh (Oral Torah) are applied by rabbis to modern day questions. Each shiur group was challenged to consider a question regarding the use of modern technology on Shabbat (the use of hearing aids), evaluating primary sources from Tanakh and Talmud, and asked to consider how these sources would lead them to a modern halachic decision.
Just before mincha today, the Roman Emperor Theodosius the Great appeared to announce, unlike his predecessor Julian, he was not interested in helping Jews re-establish themselves in the land of Israel. Furthermore, he declared that the Sanhedrin was hereby disbanded, and that semikha (rabbinical ordination) was outlawed — bringing an end to centralized Jewish rabbinic authority. Also at mincha, two great seventh century Babylonian sages Ravina and Rav Ashi told Machane Stone that they were working on editing rabbinic discussions and opinions into the Talmud Bavli — the Babylonian Talmud, which would end up serving as the primary source for Torah she-ba’al Peh for the next 15 centuries — ad ha-yom ha-zeh, until this very day!
Today ended with a bang – literally! After dinner, the entire camp went out to the field near the Beit Knesset — for a full scale, amazing fireworks show! After Maariv, the camp celebrated the (almost) end of the session at a carnival, complete with bouncy rides, cotton candy, popcorn, and sno-cones!
Machal, back from their two weeks of travel, went boating closer to home today, having a more relaxing day out on the Chautaqua Lake (a less ambitious outing than their 50+ miles of canoeing on the James River the week before last, and less strenuous than their battling the rapids of the Youghiogheny River last week).
Tomorrow will be the last full day for all of the chanichim, everyone is feeling extremely grateful to have had this month together at camp. With all going on in the world in the past year and a half, and thinking about the year ahead, we have cherished our special time here at Camp Stone. We all had an amazing month, and we are so sad to be leaving this incredible place where experiential education works like magic; we each developed new talents and enjoyed summer activities; friendships were started and deepened, and a real family-feel was created.
כי בנפשנו הוא – מחנה סטון