Farewell!

We have reached the end of the summer! We worked so hard to make it a memorable and inspiring summer for all of your kids, and I hope by reading the blog, you’ve been able to glean some of the that Mosh Magic that we cultivated this summer. It has been a pleasure writing for the blog this entire summer to provide insight on the inner workings of machaneh, and I hope you’ve all enjoyed it as well! Thanks again, and see you all next summer!

Moshly yours,

Simone

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Yom Tzedek

I accompanied the solelimot and chotrimot on their trip to First Fruits Farm for Yom Tzedek. This farm is unique in that it donates all of its produce to local food banks, and it is run purely off of volunteers, like us! The farm is about forty minutes away, so we loaded up on the bus and set off for Freeland, Maryland. Once we arrived, we were shown a video on the impact of the farm and learned about those that we were helping. Then, it was off to the fields! First Fruits grows many different crops, but today, they had us picking tomatoes. The chanichimot all got buckets and wandered up and down the rows of tomatoes, picking the ripe fruit and leaving the green ones for a later group. Once they filled up a bucket, they emptied it into a truck and kept on picking tomatoes. Though it was hot with the sun right overhead, we made sure everyone stayed hydrated.

This was an important activity for the kids to participate in; for one, they got to exert their inner farmer, but they also got to participate in giving their labor as tzedakah, or charity. Tzedakah comes from the Hebrew word tzedek, meaning justice. It is a Jewish value to pursue justice whenever possible, which is why we take the chanichimot to the farm to volunteer their time.

Moshly yours,

Simone

Yom English

We speak Hebrew a lot at machaneh; in fact, when making announcements and using the intercom, we exclusively use Hebrew. Chanichimot who arrive at machaneh knowing little to no Hebrew return home with a new albeit very specific knowledge of Hebrew. Your child may speak of camp, substituting words“bathroom” and “tent” for sherutim and ohel. Chanichimot know basic words that are often called over the intercom, like “achshav” which means now, and “dakot” which means minutes. Instead of hearing “breakfast is in ten minutes” at 8:35 in the morning, chanichimot hear “Aruchat boker b’od eser dakot”. At this point it’s also safe to say they also probably know the Hebrew word from “Intercom”. This is all to say, your children hear and understand a surprising amount of Hebrew while at machaneh, and this is not inadvertent.

Yesterday was Yom English, or English Day – a day of speaking solely English. While it began just as basic translations, such as calling “madrichimot” counselors or saying “morning gathering” instead “hitkansut boker”, the day quickly spiraled into an awkward attempt at forcing a translation on to our basic activities. You may have noticed while reading the glossary post that some of the translations sound awkward or cumbersome, especially if you have experienced these structures at machaneh already. For example, sadnaot is the time in the day where each age group splits off and does traditional camp activities, like tubing, ropes course, dancing, etc. However, sadnaot literally translates to “workshops”. The same goes for chugim, which translates to “interest groups” which sounds far too formal for what they actually are. The kids had a lot of fun learning the exact meanings of these words, and they even learned the actual translations of their age group titles, which can be found on the glossary post.

In addition to the times of day and the names of places, a majority of the songs we sing here are in Hebrew. The songs that we sing each morning and each evening are both in Hebrew. The lullaby we sing in a big circle after the tochnit erev (evening activity) is in Hebrew. Before each meal we sing a Hebrew Poem by the secular Poet Chaim Nachman Bialik blessing the workers that helped create the food on our table, and optionally after the meal the Birkat Hamazon, which many chanichimot have started to sing of their own accord. We translated that for them as well and sang it in English. This isn’t even counting all of the Hebrew cheers we do during meals or the Shabbat shira songs that we sing exclusively on Shabbat. It was silly for the kids to read the translations of the songs that we sing so often, fumble through the tune with a wildly different number of syllables, and often learn some new meaning behind the traditions that underpin a normal day of Jewish activity and culture at Machaneh.

This sudden shift in routine elucidated the sheer amount of Hebrew we use at machaneh. From each building having a Hebrew name, and in the case of our tents and cabins, the name of a Kibbutz, to translating words we’ve never thought to translate, like “brerot” or “sadnaot”and even each-others names, the chanichimot definitely added to their vocabulary today. But more so than that, they also learned of the importance of having the Hebrew language and the ownership they can enact over it. Here at Mosh, we have transformed the Hebrew language to be more inclusive, using the gender neutral suffix “-imot”instead of the gendered “im” or “ot”, as well as the suffix “ol”, derived from the word for all which is “kol”. It is important for chanichimot to feel this sense of ownership over the Hebrew language, as its fluidity relies heavily on their participation in it.

From all of us here at builders of the freedom camp colony, have a great day.

 

Moshly yours,

Simone

Huggy-Kissy Time!

Friday night, just before Shabbat begins, is a time where clean chanichimot can pose for pictures taken by yours truly! This time of the day is called “Huggy-Kissy Time,” as it is when we all hug each other and wish each other a good Shabbos. This time marks the start to a beautiful Shabbat!

We are looking forward to the last week of machaneh!

Moshly yours,

Simone

MLC/Sif

Today, I attended the anaf MLC/Sif. This anaf sweeps the MLC (Moadon L’Chaver – Clubhouse of Friendship) and cleans the sif (sifria – library). While it may seem trivial or unimportant in the grand scheme of camp, this is one of the most important tasks at machaneh! The MLC is used for almost every single activity at machaneh, and therefore sees its fair share of dusty feet, weird insects, and lots and lots of dirt! The sifria is also used heavily at machaneh, as it is one of the bigger indoor spaces besides the chadar ochel. These spaces get dirty quickly, and it’s the job of MLC/Sif to clean them! In the sif, chanichimot put away books and board games in addition to sweeping, while also collecting lost items that people have left there and putting them in the lost and found to be returned to their owners later. In the MLC, chanichimot sweep the entire area, and on Fridays, they sweep and mop. Despite being manual labor, chanichimot have a lot of fun with avoda, and the chanichimot in MLC/Sif listen to fun music as they clean up, and can often be seen singing into the handles of their brooms.

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Moshly yours,

Simone

Special Day – Environmentalism

Hello Earthlings!

Today was special day! The day was themed around the movie WALL-E, with a greater overarching educational goal of teaching about environmentalism.

We began in the year 2050, and the world was no longer recognizable. Resources were depleted, pollution had overtaken nature, and humans had been replaced by robots.

The chanichimot began the day with a carnival where they learned the ins and outs of being robots. They got their faces painted, adopted robot identities, learned how to speak robot, etc. Once they completed robot boot camp, the chanichimot were then split into groups for a round robins, where they did fun activities modeled around different environmental issues, such as an oil spill slip and slide.

Just before lunch, the chanichimot time traveled back the present day. Then, after lunch, they did another round robin, this time consisting of themed activities relating to the present day environmental issues that we face. These stations were themed around current issues like deforestation, plastic usage, fracking, fossil fuels, and others.

After that round robin, WALL-E and Eve, the characters from the movie, gathered the chanichimot into one big group to play a machaneh-wide game of “Hunger Games.” Each chanichol had to try to get each other out by pulling the streamers out from where they are tucked into on the other person’s body.

Then chanichimot had some swimming time at the “last body of water on Earth” (the pool), because the oceans had evaporated with the depletion of the atmosphere.

After pool time, the chanichimot got to choose two of seven different chugim centered around specific environmental topics. The topics covered dumpster diving, food justice and Jewish farming practices, GMOs, fish farming, city planning, environmental racism, and consumerism.

Just as the chanichimot began feeling helpless in their impact on saving the environment, we ran a carnival proposing different environmentally aware/active ways to combat all of these environmental issues. Activities were centered around reducing waste, promoting moral environmental practices, not buying new clothing, buying local, and writing letters to representatives asking them (Cuomo, Hogan, Wolf, etc.) to prioritize the environment.

By the end of the day and after dinner, the chanichimot had gained an extraordinary amount of information on how to fight for the environment. They then split up by age group for a sikkum (closing discussion) regarding all that they had learned throughout the day. In their own circles, each shikva processed the day and related it back to machaneh and the things we do here, like composting. We asked the kids to change habits at home in order to live more environmentally friendly lives, whether that be buying local produce, shopping at thrift stores, or something else. For the older chanichimot, we read an article discussing teens leading the movement against climate change and proposed ways for them to get involved.

Overall, the day was educational and fun, and the chanichimot came out of it with tons of new knowledge on how they can contribute positively to the environment so that we never see a world like WALL-E’s.

 

Moshly yours,

Simone

P.S. Check out the CampMinder for more photos!

Zman Metsuyan pt. 2

A few days ago, we posted a blog about Zman Metzuyan our Israel education block. That post was about programs that we ran several weeks ago during first session. Today you will learn about second session Zman Metzuyan!

During Monday’s Zman Metzuyan, our first Israel education block of second session, chanichimot participated in a scavenger hunt to discover different aspects of Jewish peoplehood. Chanichimot found clues leading them to different places around machaneh, and at each station they played a game and had a short discussion about a different aspect of Jewish peoplehood. At the Jewish history station, for example, chanichimot played a memory matching game with different events from Jewish history, and at the Israel station they made their bodies into human maps of Israel and tried to locate different places in Israel on the map.

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Though educational in nature, chanichimot have a lot of fun with Zman Metsuyan.
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The madrichimot plan Zman Metsuyan to include a ton of fun activities!
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Chanichimot representatives from “caucus” groups meeting with Theodore Hertzl!
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Chanichimot listening intently to the madrichimot during Zman Metsuyan.

After Monday’s activity on Jewish peoplehood, we spent Tuesday’s Zman Metzuyan exploring the idea of Zionism. Chanichimot participated in a mock “First Zionist Congress,” modeled after the real event that happened in 1897. Chanichimot were split into different caucus groups, each of which received a definition of Zionism. Different representatives from each caucus group got on stage to present to the congress what their group thought were the most important words in the definition.

For Wednesday’s Zman Metzuyan, we split by shichva for separate activities about the importance of affirming multiple narratives. Younger chanichimot practiced putting themselves in someone else’s shoes by performing skits about what the story of Little Red Riding Hood might look like from another character’s perspective.

Meanwhile, older chanichimot read an excerpt from a dual-narrative textbook featuring both Palestinian and Zionist accounts of the history of Israel. They discussed the importance and the challenges of holding multiple truths at the same time.

This coming week’s Zman Metzuyan will be structured by chugim (interest groups)! Chanichimot will choose to attend three consecutive sessions about Israeli food, sports, music, politics, and more. Regardless of which option they choose, chanichimot will be sure to enjoy a fun and nuanced look into Israeli culture and society.

Moshly yours,

Simone & Leah