Wednesday July 27
Our first full day!! It was busy and fun and exciting!
We woke up at 7:30 and had our morning mifkad by eidah (division). Each age group gathers at a designated place, before going to Shacharit. They do some morning stretches, talk about the day ahead and sing the Bnei Akiva song “yad achim” and then haTikva. Each evening, all of the eidot have mifkad together outside the Chadar Ochel – they talk about the day’s activities and sing the camp’s song for that month, as well as haTikvah. They will teach this month’s song (it is always related to the tochnit) soon.
Breakfast is followed by shiur, clean-up and aruchat eser (some cheese and vegetables).
Today in Shiur we learned about the Geonim and how they tried to extend their power once communities began to develop outside Sura and Pumbedita (the two main Jewish centers of living and learning in Bavel). Each community wanted to separate from bavel and “go out on their own”. The chanichim discussed the concept of communities being connected and supportive of each other. They brought up their own communities and how they feel connected to Israel. Each shiur group is a half (or sometimes just a third) of a bunk. The morim (shiur teachers) are our Beit Midrash staff plus a few other tzevet who want to teach shiur) Our shiurim are written by our Roshei Chinuch – Hannah Vorchheimer and Joe Maimon.
Every bunk has approx. 6 pIeulot each day, follwed by shower time and some relaxing end-of-the-day Hachanot Erev time. Everyone’s schedule today had check-in with health staff, a fun bonding game with their counselors and a peulah for sitting together and “setting expectations” – each chanich(a) had a turn to suggest one of the “rules” for the bunk. It was a really nice opportunity for everyone to introduce themselves again and to begin developing a bunk culture and some “basic rules” for the group.
Before dinner, there was a big “Chugim Fair” where chanichim could learn about the various electives that are offered here 3 times a week in the early evening (last peulah of the day): basketball, baseball, swim, music, ceramics, climbing wall and glassblowing in the village (we’ll talk more about that next week) and…”simcha and schmooze” and “Plays without Prep” and “everything but the waffle” too! Lots and lots of choices for a time in the week when the ages mix and everyone can do what they like with the tzevet member they want to hang out with! Each chanich filled out their #1 choice, #2 choice etc and they will be told “what chug they got.”
After diner, each eidah had their own game tonight to focus on the gibbush (bonding) within the eidah. Eidah Alef played a “would you rather…” type game, Eidah Vav played Human Bingo and Eidah Bet played Human Guess Who, Eidah Gimmel played assorted party games to build group dynamic and Eidah Daled had a big dodgeball game.
It feels like we have been here 3 days!
Kaytana learned about Avraham Avinu today and the mitzvah he excelled at – Hachnasat Orchim. The Kaytana campers practiced this mitzvah when they gave out lemonade and brownies to anyone who wanted, in the late afternoon. They spent their morning learning each other’s names, settling in and finishing the unpacking they still had to do. Later in the day, they had a talent show for counselors and campers who had talents they could entertain their eidah with : ) Isaac Abboudi and Lia Solomon are leading this adorable eidah with so much energy, love and patience!
Machal left early for their first hike of the session – a 6 mile hike called Minister’s Creek Trailhead, in the Allegheny national forest. They set up tents and had a cook-out tonight. They were great and seemed really comfortable with the tasks they were given! Each day they learn Torah by studying chapters in Sefer Yehoshua. The themes in this book are so relevant to this age and their program – they learn about leadership, commitment to the nation, and building community.