Wednesday July 24

DATE: July 25, 2019

We had a great first day here in Machane Stone, with an exciting “Boker Tov Sugar Grove” over the ram-kol, to kick it off! Every Eidah has their own mifkad before tefillah, with some stretches, a message from their Roshei Eidah and the singing of the Bnei Akiva anthem and haTikvah. Tefillah here is in two groups – Kaytana, Alef and Vav are in our indoor Beit Knesset and Bet, Gimmel and Daled in our outdoor Beit Knesset. Each minyan has a lot of singing (sometimes hand motions!), a short explanation of a tefillah and a skit about some daily relevant halacha.

Everyone had their first shiur today – approx. 5-7 chanichim/ot per shiur teacher. All the morim are staff members (mostly from the Beit Midrash, but also a few lifeguards, melechet yad staff etc) who learn the shiur topic the day before and put a lot of effort into the text and topic, thinking about what triggers, questions and activities will make the learning more fun 🙂 Today everyone talked about the Beit HaMikdash (that we inaugurated yesterday) and discussed what kind of place it is exactly? A home for G-d, a shul, a gathering hall for the nation, a school where we learn Torah – so many ways to look at it.

The day was full of peulot (activities) and they even had the “chugim fair” before dinner where staff could showcase elective-peulot that they will run three times a week. The chanichim/ot sign up for a chug in one of the regular camp activities (volleyball, basketball, art, dance, horse-back riding, archery, ceramics etc) or they can join creative staff in more off-the-beaten-track hobbies and activities like Tzahal training, slip n’ slide and “foods that start with the letter l”

Tonight’s night tochnit was by eidah (sometimes we have camp-wide activities and sometimes by eidah and by gender) and it was time to hang out and play something fun and funny together, while they are still just learning each other’s names – like “minute to win it” or “counselor challenges” or “Rocks, paper, scissors tournament”.

One camper was overheard saying (this evening) “I feel like we’ve been here a month” Ha!!

Kaytana learned about Avraham’s chessed today and made cookies and brownies to hand out. They stood under a tent in a central location and gave them out to all passers-by, just as Avraham Avinu would have…although I am sure Avraham and Sarah didn’t use a Duncan Heinz mix 🙂 The Kaytana chanichim went around camp today in small groups for a tour and started creating their own cheers for the month.

Machal woke up early and headed out to Tracey’s Ridge, a beautiful 8-hr hike and tonight they are sleeping in Willow Bay campgrounds. They began to ask the questions that all community-builders ask about “our goals,” “our policies” and what leadership looks like, as they form their own little “machal nation” for the month.