Another week has FLOWN by at Camp Judaea! Last Shabbat, we were looking forward to our very first “Trip Days” of the summer; now we can tell you all about them. On Saturday evening, after Havdallah, Kesher boarded the bus to New York City and Bogrim headed up to Washington, DC. Each of these edot had very busy weeks filled with Jewish history and heritage tours that correlated to their eda’s theme of Jewish Identity (Kesher) and Dreams to Reality (Bogrim). These programs included: the National Museum of American Jewish History and the Declaration of Independence and Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, a program with Stand With Us, visits to Reform, Reconstructionist, and Chabad synagogues, a guided tour of the National Monuments, the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Israeli Embassy, and more. This morning, we welcomed them back to camp– we can’t wait to hear all about their trips!
On Sunday, Offarim, Oranim, and Sayarim packed up and embarked on their overnight campouts. During the day, they each got to visit different nature-themed attractions: Offarim went gem mining at Emerald Village, Oranim visited the Western North Carolina Nature Center, and Sayarim hiked up all of the stairs to the top of Chimney Rock! After experiencing these special places, they traveled to beautiful campsites in Pisgah National Forest in an old growth forest at the base of Mt. Mitchell where they visited a picturesque waterfall, collected wood for the fire, helped cook dinner, enjoyed s’mores, and slept in tents all night. They had spectacular weather and all returned healthy and happy to camp on Monday morning.
Rishonim and Tsofim also had trips out of camp. Rishonim traveled to Dollywood and Tsofim to Carowinds where each group spent the day on roller coasters, rides, and playing carnival games. Tsofim will have their own overnight this coming Sunday, as will Kesher and Bogrim.
On Tuesday evening, the whole camp got to participate in Erev Tzofim— and Israel and Scouting-themed festival put on by our resident Tzofim, Omer and Noa, and the rest of the Israel Culture department. The campers and staff paid tribute to fallen soldiers, learned the music and choreography to some of the Caravan songs, made rope friendship bracelets, and competed in relay races! It was a wonderful event, thanks to our Mishlachat members for coordinating and leading it.
Thursday was also a very special day in camp. For the first time ever, Camp Judaea held Yomanut! (Yom+Omanut=Art Day!) We welcomed four artists with different artistic specialties to camp, and they each led workshops for our campers. We had a Jewish cartoonist who helped the campers and staff illustrate this week’s parsha and put it together. In one workshop, the campers got to press their own olive oil and then make doughnuts using the oil they’d made. Two murals were completed: one using mosaic tiles and the other using yarn– we plan to display these murals somewhere in camp. The final workshop was a musical experience with Israeli musician, Shimon Smith! This afternoon as we prepare to welcome Shabbat, Shimon will perform a concert for the whole camp. We are really looking forward to it! Our first Yomanut was a success, and we hope to continue the new tradition.
While the campers were enjoying Yomanut, we also had a graduation ceremony for our Rishonim group. The first Taste of CJ session came to an end yesterday after 10 incredible camp-filled days. Parents and grandparents joined us for refreshments, a slideshow, singing, closing remarks, and of course, the Rishonim cheers as we sent off the newest CJ campers. We can’t wait to welcome them back next summer for Offarim! We are also so excited to welcome Taste of CJ Daled – Rishonim campers for the Taste of CJ Daled session this coming Monday.
In addition to all of the special programming we had in camp, we also had a few special guests visit. The Lefkowitz family stopped by on Monday to check out their old stomping grounds. Pearl and Howard Lefkowitz met at Camp Judaea before sending their children Darren, Marnie, and Ryan to CJ in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Now Darren is married to Esther Falchook, also a former camper of Camp Judaea whom he met when they were Kesher campers in 1996! While here, Darren told us that his summers spent at Camp Judaea “helped shape my Zionism.” Marnie (now Ahram) and Ryan and his wife Amy each have two young daughters who will all, hopefully, join us at Camp Judaea in the coming years. We very much enjoyed having the whole Lefkowitz family here and showing them CJ in action.
“The tour was exciting with all of the Camp’s improvements & enhancements; and at the same time, nostalgic, by bringing back memories of our youths and the impact that Camp Judaea had upon us. Elana, Tom, and Matt made us feel royally welcomed back! Howard & I are most grateful to CJ both then and now.” Pearl Lefkowitz
We also welcomed Rabbi Jeff Eisenstat from the Reconstructionist movement to Camp who was visiting on behalf of the Foundation for Jewish Camp. We had a lovely time sharing our beloved CJ with him and explaining our traditions. He observed many of our activities and reported that he was very impressed with the level of Judaism and Jewish Education out campers experience every day at CJ. Thanks for joining us, Rabbi Jeff!
We have another full week ahead! Sunday we have the second round of trips; Offarim, Oranim, and Sayarim will head out to amusement parks while Tsofim, Kesher, and Bogrim will have their overnights. The Kesher group, after their Broadway inspiration this week, will perform a Hatzaga (play) for the whole camp. Bikkurim is coming up over the next two weeks, but we won’t tell you when! So many adventures ahead of us!
After such a non-stop week and all of the upcoming excitement, we could not be more ready for Shabbat. It will be so nice to have everyone together as we rest, reflect, and rejuvenate. We wish you a Shabbat Shalom from Camp Judaea…
Please enjoy this week’s edition of CJ NEWS!
CAMP JUDAEA NEWS 2016 – WEEK 2 from Camp Judaea on Vimeo.