Tuesday July 20
Welcome back to Sugar Grove, PA!! This session we will be learning about The Oral Law in our Moshevet Torah shebe’al Peh -תורה שבעל פה , studying the years of our Tana’im (Rabbis of the Mishna) and Amora’im (Rabbis of the Gemara). The history and Torah we learn will be as memorable as the friendships and the fun – because it will be REAL! Experiential education is at its best here in Machane Stone 🙂 Come see….
The chanichim (campers) stepped off the bus this afternoon and met their counselors and bunk, and then they met… Rabbi Yochanan Ben Zakkai, the famous Rabbi (1st century CE) who “saved” our religion as the Romans were about to destroy the second Beit HaMikdash (and with it the focus of our religion and nation). He (technically, a Rosh Eidah dressed up in ancient garb) demanded “Give me Yavneh and its sages” (we had a microphone and hundreds watching…back in history it was just a small group of Rabbis and the Roman Emperor Vespasian) This line is one of the most famous sentences in history and led to the continuation of Judaism through learning Torah and developing halacha in the Batei Midrash (Study Houses/Yeshivot) of Eretz Yisrael and then, eventually, Bavel.
And with that dramatic presentation, the campers entered the world of Oral Law and some of the famous personalities, cities, and religious writings – all reflected by the bunk names this session: Eidah Aleph bunks are Hillel, Shamai and Rabbi Akiva. Eidah Vav – Rabbi Yochanan, Reish Lakish, Rav and Shmuel. Then we have cities and parts of the Mishnah for Eidot Bet and Gimmel (Yavneh, Nezikin etc) and Eidah Daled are the two Talmuds – Bavli and Yerushalmi, as well as Mekhilta and Tosefta, some additions and later collections to the Oral Law. The campers have already learned so much just by hearing and seeing these bunk names.
Everyone unpacked, got cozy, started to learn each other’s names and enjoyed yummy chicken and rice and veges for dinner. Can’t wait for the first day – so much to write home about already!
Kaytana has its own topic for their two-weeks here, also accompanied by lots of skits and experiences that will bring it all to life. They are making their way from Avraham to Yehoshua (individual becoming a nation), so they began by “meeting Avarahm” who was smashing idols (pinatas!!) and leaving for Eretz Yisrael. They joined him on a wagon ride and got to know him a little…
They unpacked, played on the swings and climbing structures outside their bunk, ate dinner and went to bed. They are so excited to be at camp and feel so grown up! They will have shiur, clean-up and 8 peulot (activities) each day (one of which will always be showers, don’t worry!!), just like the big kids!!
Machal arrived and was whisked off to their own campus at the end of camp! We won’t be seeing them until Shabbat. They began their month today by receiving their מספרי ברזל – the numbers that they will say as they “count off” each time they take attendance. Their name and that number will appear on their “dog tag” which they receive at the end of the month, a little bit of Israeli army to take home with them…after a month which feels like basic training 😉