First of all, SEE A VIDEO OF OUR CAMPERS WHITE WATER RAFTING AT THIS LINK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?
“That light we see is burning in my hall.” (Merchant of Venice, 5.1.88). It’s us again parents. Brace for an extended metaphor. As usual, the chanichim (campers) are the lights guiding us in the “hall,” here signifying the world. They are “burning” in the sense that they are on fire this summer. Still metaphoring, pay attention! Portia goes on to exclaim to Nerissa in this opening to the final act of Merchant of Venice, “How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a naughty world” (Merchant of Venice, 5.1.89-90). The beams that Kerem (our chanichim, the oldest aydah [age group] in camp and the CITs) casts on the machaneh (camp) themselves are the good deeds cast upon this naughty world. This writer has been a bit naughty lately as you may have noticed by my pretty long intro this week. I’m sorry, I’m Naughty by Nature, like that rap group Naughty by Nature.
Kerem was last seen by all of you a while back, about to begin their Friday. We opened the day with iyun tefillah (literally “prayer study,” a time when we have extended discussion of themes in prayer). The chanichim had time to discuss their Jewish identities and grow. Growth achieved, breakfast was french toast. Maximal growth! Time for nikayon (cleaning the bunk & camp), kitah (class), practice for the machazeh (play, this year Damn Yankees), and helping run a chug (elective) for younger chanichim. After lunch the chanichim went to the tzrifim (bunks) of the younger chanichim younger to provide coverage (and love!) while the madrichim were at staff meetings. We literally had to peel the younger chanichim off the Kerem when the madrichim came back, like a banana or an orange or a pineapple or a kiwi or a potato, because the chanichim had such a great time with the Kerem. We spent the afternoon putting in more work for the machazeh and hanging out on the agam (lake).
A note on analogies: analogies function to provide additional meanings to signifiers that would not be otherwise implicated and indicated. Analogies also function to be illustrative and provide additional layers of meaning that might not be otherwise apparent. Analogical reasoning has been indicated to increase comprehension in problem solving as much as 70% (Gick and Holyoak 1980). I mention this because I usually use analogies to describe Shabbat instead of literally describing it. Telling you that the chanichim led zemirot (Friday night singing) for the whole camp, had a soul-shaking aydah tisch (meaningful session of slow singing and story telling in the dark), that they met with the Kerem tzevet (staff) on Shabbat to have one-on-one check ins, that they had a ton of free time to bond and chill and had deep conversations just misses some of the magic. Analogies exist to get at that ineffable, near-ecstatic feeling that comes with Shabbat which makes it nearly irreproducible (that’s a word I looked it up). Suffice to say it was better even than those that came before. Saturday night again we covered in the chanichim’s bunks. Everyone felt #blessed to exist in our Yavneh web and lift each other up.
Sunday we again had our usual morning (see above). In the afternoon we relaxed on the agam, had practice for Zimriyah (our all-camp singing competition coming up next week, July 20!). We also had our first manhigut (leadership) peulah (activity) of many, to help the chanichim learn life lessons and skills. This one taught them how to plan peulot (activities) collaboratively. At night, Kerem led peulot for the chanichim they cover for.
Monday morning was a normal morning and afternoon, with time on the agam, basketball courts, volleyball courts and more. The boys have been really into chess lately, although that’s kinda a non-sequitur. After a hearty dinner of sloppy joes, for peulat erev (evening activity) the Kerem for older aydot led activities. After a meaningful debrief we had a barbeque by the tennis courts and played games and chilled.
Tuesday’s formulaic morning went swimmingly, like any chemistry formula only it was the camp schedule. HOWEVER! It was also shiva asar b’Tammuz (the 17th of the Hebrew month of Tammuz, when the Roman siege of Jerusalem began which lead to its destruction and a minor dawn to dusk fast day). Many chanichim tried fasting for the first times in their lives, and they seemed to mostly enjoy it. Kinda hard to “enjoy” it when it’s supposed to be sad and you’re hungry. Found it meaningful might be better. The chanichim had a chiller afternoon once again on the agam and in their tzrifim, with some Zimriyah practice thrown in for good measure. For peulat erev the chanichim moonlighted as directors and began working on videos to showcase to the camp to express their Kerem 17 awesomeness. Their insatiable thirst for the arts temporarily sated, the chanichim chilled in the Beit Am (literally “nation house,” our gymnasium) before wafting to bed. Also the break fast meal was turkey.
Now Wednesday we basically worked on the machazeh from 10 am until 4 pm. The schedule did ease up post-pizza bagel lunch though, to allow for some sha’at menucha (rest hour), Zimriyah practice, and our second manhigut peulah of the week focused on being nonjudgmental and accepting of differences. The tide changed after dinner, when the chanichim filed onto a bus to a surprise destination. After a few wrong turns we arrived: UNH’s outdoor pool had been reserved for us! It had like 6 fountains. Google it, it’s over the top decadent. I’ll wait. I know, right?? We had a blast, tossed around some frisbees, had diving contests and more. We came back to shower quickly before hopping to bed. Stay tuned for more updates just around the corner!
Talia & Tibbetts