Wednesday June 30
Happy Birthday to our director Yakov Fleischmann!!
We spent Yakov’s birthday the way we knew he would enjoy…at the machane chutz 🙂
After the chanichim woke up this morning in camp, we had tefillah and a snack and then headed back out to the Chutz site to enjoy the day there. And we did!! We had a quick breakfast, followed by shiur.
On a chutz, we divide the camp into 20 groups called plugot (groups). Each plugah has a group of mixed ages and genders and is led by some eidah daled chanichim, a.k.a. the Roshei Plugah. They gather around their fire pit for all meals and work together to gather wood and cook. When it was time for shiur, four shiur teachers did a round robin with four plugot. Each plugah heard about the rebellion of Avshalom against his father David haMelech. They heard from Avshalom himself, King David, the kohen named Tzadok and the king’s general Yoav. The chanichim listened to each side of the story (all four sides!) and then the Eidah Daled Roshei Plugah were left with some questions to discuss with their plugah. Go, eidah daled!! This is their first experience with leadership in Machane, and they take it very seriously. Some of these ninth graders have aspirations to be Roshei Eidah and Roshei Moshava and know that this is their time to grow in the skills needed for those leadership positions. They have to lead by example and take care of their group.
Following shiur, each plugah was given ingredients for their lunch – bread, cheese, eggs, vegetables, cinnamon, sugar, salt etc They have so much fun for hours!! They make a fire, keep it going, cook, eat, try to cook all sorts of yummy versions of eggs, french toast, grilled cheese etc. It is the highlight of the chutz!
The day is all about playing catch, building things from wood, catching up with siblings and friends in different eidot and maybe, just maybe, napping. In the late afternoon each plugah gathered for a sicha (discussion), led by their Roshei Plugah. It was about personal responsibility and communal responsibility with some made-up examples and “what would you decide?” kind of thought questions. How do you prioritize your own needs, your family’s needs and then the nations’s needs when they conflict and “push comes to shove”? The Roshei Eidah Daled created the sicha and wrote the examples and taught their chanichim how they should run the discussion, and they were so so proud of them for doing a great job!! Next generation of leaders, here they come!!
Late at night it started to rain (yes, again) and so everyone returned to camp for sleep. We are so grateful to the kitchen staff and the maintenance staff (mitbach and plugah – yes, same word, it just means “unit” literally….) for running all the logistics behind the scenes, in order for the Chutz to run smoothly and be so fun and such a wonderful learning opportunity for the campers!
Machal spent a day in Philadelphia, learning some US history, seeing the sites and hearing from Malka Fleischmann, who spent her youth in Camp Stone, all about the freedoms Jews have enjoyed in America and how our ongoing proud religious expression safeguards our – and everyone else’s – liberty! It was a very impactful conversation, after a great day!
Make-up Machal continues to have their week in Virgina, hiking in the Blue Ridge Mts. and canoeing down the James River. We cannot wait to see them on Friday and hear allllll about it!!