Perhaps camp is made up of two types of moments: those that invite a chanich to elevate the tight bonds that he or she has created with the rest of the tzrif over the last month and those that beg the chanich to recognize that he or she is part of a much larger camp community that can come together and rejoice in beautiful ways through t’fillah and special camp wide events. Both moments are necessary in creating a cohesive group that can embrace the immensity of the entire machaneh. Chanichim sat with their tzrifim as the whole machaneh listened to the reading of Mgillat Eicha on Erev Tisha B’Av. Each tzrif worked together rebuilding a beautiful city from recyclable materials, objects often considered value-less. We asked, “Is it possible to bring new value to Jewish life without the Temple?” and “Is it possible to rebuild a city that was more beautiful than we can maybe even imagine?” Chanichim constructed stunning cities. Some had roads and others had a mayor. We then came together again as a whole machaneh for Ma’ariv to conclude Tisha B’Av. Balancing the time that we spend as a tzrif and as a machaneh, we rehearsed our Rikudiah on Thursday as an edah and performed before the entire machaneh that night.
On Wednesday, Cochavim left camp to go bowling and for some more fun we then went mining for gems like quartz, amber and amethyst that our chanichim kept as special Cochavim summer mementos. Our last Shabbat together will certainly be bittersweet as we reflect on our summer together and embrace our presence in the large machaneh for the last time, until Kayitz 2014. Hopefully, our chanichim will leave this summer with two distinct ideas of machaneh Ramah that exist harmoniously: Camp is where I nurtured close relationships with a small group and Camp is a place where I can feel like I matter in a large group of 800.