I want to share a presentation of what first appears as three distinct stories which actually weave a beautiful snap shot of camp life from the perspective of a director. It is great to have been a part of each and every one of these experiences…
Two nights ago I participated in the peulat erev for our youngest campers, Cochavim. The campers had just arrived the day before. They seemed happy as they played a scavenger hunt which included eating a cookie with Rabbi Resnick. Afterwards as I was walking down the road in camp I approached a Cochavim camper and started up a conversation. She told me that she had just seen two baby raccoons. I asked how she knew they were babies. She responded by showing with her hands how small they were. I agreed that they must have been babies indeed. She then said, I love raccoons and I want to have one as a pet. I am thinking that I never had such a conversation in all my years here. A camper wants a pet raccoon. Hmm… I said to her but raccoons can smell and that could be scary. She said in a somewhat defiant tone for an eight year-old, that pet raccoons can have their glands removed that make them shoot off that smell. She then told me she really wants to kiss one. I listened. I smiled. I said to myself, just another encounter at Ramah!
Yesterday, our Moreshet group arrived. This is a group of 15 Israelis who come to us through the FIDF. They are Israeli children who are part of families who have been affected by terrorist attacks, war or army accidents. They come to us for one week. This summer for the first time there are two Bedouin children in the group. One of them does not speak Hebrew. We did not know that. And so when the group arrived it was difficult to communicate with him. Fortunately, our Rosh Mishlachat, Adar Bar-El, knows Arabic and was called into help.
Last night was Machon’s production of The Prince of Egypt. It was indeed more than a play and more than a musical. It was a production. The staff of Machon worked hard on it. There is tremendous talent in camp…we heard some spectacular voices. And there is a wonderful theater department under the leadership of Miriam Hertzson. With a staff of music, theater arts and staging talents we witnessed an amazing production. As I told Miriam last night it has been a long time since a play has sent shivers up my spine. It was amazing. It was professional. It was Hebrew. It was majestic in its art work. It was awe inspiring in terms of its artwork. It was a proud moment for our camp.
How do these three events connect to each other? How are they really one whole? Camp is an intricate and complicated mosaic of different pieces integrating varied experiences for different children and teens in camp. The mosaic’s strength is in its diversity. It is NOT the same for each edah or for each camper. Programs are geared to the best of our abilities to be age appropriate. The whole mosaic is governed by our mission statement of providing a vibrant summer camp community where campers learn and grow.
There was a lot of learning and a lot of growing in very different ways that went on this week.
Rabbi Paul Resnick