Wednesday June 28
We began the day excited that the sun was in the forecast! It has been a while since we had any need for our sunscreen 😉
Our shiur time today was dedicated to the very beloved Rebbe Akiva. The Gemara has so many inspiring and relatable stories about Rebbe Akiva: his learning Torah only later on in life, his optimism and “never give up” attitude, the way he always said “this too is for the best” (great story about that with a rooster, a candle and a donkey), and a famous analogy he gives likening Torah to water that fish (=we) swim in. All in all, there was plenty of material for all eidot to choose from and discuss.
This week, every bunk began to visit The Village. In our machane, we have a very special corner of camp, in the trees near the indoor Beit Knesset, called THE VILLAGE. Each session the village contains a few hands-on activities that connect the chanichim to the time period we are studying AND exposes them to some lost arts – like blacksmithing and glass blowing. This month our village is called Beitar, a city in which many Jews settled after 70 CE (presumably due to the city’s close proximity to the destroyed Jerusalem). It was the last standing stronghold of the Bar Kochva revolt (being discussed in tomorrow’s shiur) and was ultimately destroyed by Hadrian and his Roman army in 135 CE. We have 8 activities in the village, and throughout the month, each bunk has 1 turn at each of the follwoing stations:
- Glass – blowing mizrach signs
- Brick-making (with really cool opportunity to make personal imprints)
- Postal service where campers will be receiving letters and sending letters with their own unique wax seal
- a “bathhouse” where campers will solve intellectually challenging puzzles and use oils, the way the Romans did (we have so many stories of Roman bathhouses in the Gemara)
- Broom-making from palm fronds
- Baking authentic Roman bread in our very own brick oven!
- Safrut – campers are learning how to write letters/calligraphy like a scribe
- Blacksmithing – trivets
Look for pictures of the engaged campers in the camp photos. This is an amazing memorable part of Machane Stone, where experiential education is truly remarkable. Entering “Beitar” feels like you are steping back in time. Shout out to our tzevet members Shaun Slamowitz, Talia Feldman and Ezra Lestz, our young 20-21 year olds who are running the day-to-day logistics of this special magical corner of camp.
Kaytana had color war today: Team Moshe (blue) VS. Team Aharon (red)!! They had lots of sports-competitions, a big relay race that involved everyone at some point, team marches before meals and presentations of their song and sign (shelet) for a night activity. Counselors applied face paint to whoever wanted and taught the chanichim all the classic Color War cheers.
Machal had a 5-mile hike today today called “The small gorge hike,” ending the day at their machal chutz site, right around the corner from Machane. They are there through Friday morning now. They ate hot dogs for dinner and enjoyed a camp fire with singing and schmoozing late into the night.