Yom Tzedek Second Session 2017!

This is a guest post written by our Rosh Yael Horowitz:

Wednesday August 9th was an incredible and powerful day for all the kids at Machaneh Moshava. In the morning, we split up to go do different service projects. The amelimot and chotrimot went to First Fruits Farm, which is a volunteer farm that provides fresh produce to soup kitchens and food pantries all throughout Maryland. At First Fruits we picked Zucchini, some of them were half the size of us!zucc.jpg

The bonimot went to Darley Park in Baltimore where we partnered with a group called The 6th Branch, a non-profit set up by veterans who “serve with a shovel.” The chanichimot spent time beautifying a park that was built from reclaimed wasteland. The Bogrimot went to an Urban Garden on Duncan Street and learnt about food deserts and food justice.

Later that day, we had an incredible guest speaker – Carolivia Herron, the author of the children’s book Always an Olivia. Carolivia was active during the Civil Rights Movement and came to tell us incredible stories about her family and herself. She told us a really powerful story about attending the March on Washington and all of the excitement and trepidation that people felt beforehand. She talked to us about the power of protesting and all the different ways to be an activist.

Later that evening, 37 kids from the upper shetach went to a community rally at City Hall in Baltimore. The event was open to all the kids in the upper shetach. They were introduced to the cause and the idea a week before it was going to happen and we embarked on a two-tiered opt-in process. Campers needed both parental consent and to opt-in in order for it to participate. We also went through a lot of preparation to make sure it was safe to go, for example Yael Horowitz, our Rosh, went to the protest the week before to check it out. Throughout this process of deciding we had many meaningful sichot (conversations) about what it means to go to a protest and why sometimes it is not the right decision to go and all of the various forms of activism that are possible outside of protests and rallies.

Once the decisions were made we got on a bus and attended what turned out to be a very meaningful experience. The kids heard speeches from different community members about what it means to be white and use white privilege to change systemic racism, about the power of the youth to change things, and about the experiences of being a part of a community that is deeply affected by police brutality. The kids left feeling empowered and invigorated with lots to think about and process together.protest.jpg

Back at machaneh, the chanichimot were continuing the conversations they had started about food justice, etc. The amelimot were lucky enough to have Carolivia visit their peula to help them write a song about all the things they felt were unfair about being the youngest at machaneh, the song is called the Amelim Blues and we are eagerly awaiting a performance this Shabbat. The older kids continued their conversations about race in America and Food Justice.

At machaneh we often think about the ideas of community service, acts that help the community, and revolutionary service, acts that change community. In many ways the service projects we did in the morning were great examples of community service and the education and activism participated in by all were acts of revolutionary service. Today was a day that made me proud to be a Moshnik!

If you have any questions or would like more information please email me at roshmosh2017@campmosh.org


Environmental Justice Special Erev

DSC_0254.JPGTonight was a very special erev (night)! Instead having a normal evening we had a special themed evening where we learned about environmental justice. We started off the night with a tour of different corporations and what there efforts to help the environment. We did activities based around using reusable bags, turning off the light after leaving a room, and recycling. 

We were all disappointed and angry to hear that these CEO’s actually didn’t care about the environment. That even though they talked about ways to conserve and save they actually didn’t use there own practices. While blaming us for not treating the environment well they were actually being worse. DSC_0268

When we learned this we began to organize a protest against the CEO’s of the companies. We put on face paint, made signs, and created chants. We ran to basketball court and had a rally against the corporations greed! Then we had chugim (special interest groups) about different aspects of environmental activism. Some of them were environmental racism, fracking, and the Dakota Access Pipeland.


It was an interesting and fun evening!

Pish Spotlight: Chotrimot

Today I joined the Chotrimot (rising 6th and 7th graders) in their morning pish (educational activity by age group).


This pish focused on shivyon erech ha’adam, the equality and uniqueness of human life, and how this core value can guide the chanichimot’s (campers’) interactions. We began by playing a fun and active game to get some energy out.


After the opening game, each chanichol (camper) was assigned a specific food, ranging from tofu to chocolate covered strawberries. Then they had to form small groups and use all of the ingredients in their group to create a dish. They named their dishes and presented them to everybody. There were some pretty innovative food creations!


Then the madrichimot (counselors) announced that all of the fruits were rotten! Each group had to present their dish again without the fruit. This time the dishes did not sound as good. We talked about why each ingredient was important in a dish and how when even one piece was missing, the entire collective was changed.


Next we related this to our own lives by introducing the concept of shivyon erech ha’adam, the uniqueness of every person that makes them different from but equal to every other person. We read a short text about the hidden spark inside every human, as well as the following quote:

There is no superior and no inferior in a system of human uniqueness. ‘[One] who kills a single . . . soul is as if [they] demolished [an] entire world.’

We talked about the meaning of these texts, and discussed what it means for us to look for the spark inside each person and treat everybody as both special and equal.


Then the Chotrimot turned discussion into action by creating a list of guidelines for how they wanted to treat one another. They came up with standards of respect and inclusion that can help shape their relationships and group dynamics.


Today’s Chotrimot pish was interesting and inspiring!

Willy Wonka Special Day!

Today was Special Day, a full day of super kef (fun) activities that also involved chinuch (education)! This session’s Special Day was themed Willy Wonka, so when we woke up we got golden tickets to Wonka’s factory.


We ate a sweet breakfast and then explored the factory! Some of the rooms we visited were the Fizzy Lifting Drink room, the Marshmallow room, Everlasting Gobstoppers, Golden Eggs, Dum-Dum Oreo Trivia, and Games Galore Gatorade. At each of these stations we played a fun game relating to the candy being made.


After our tour of the factory, Wonka asked us to join the Oompa Loompa workforce and begin our jobs. But first, we had to be trained. We started out by signing work contracts, learning Oompa Loompa songs, making Oompa Loompa ID cards, and learning about Wonka’s factory.


Then we did a relay to get dressed for work. Once we had become Oompa Loompas, we practiced picking Cocoa Puffs, milking chocolate cows, juicing oranges, packaging chocolate, and creating Wonka commercials. Finally, we came up with new inventions by experimenting with weird flavor combinations.


After our transformation and training, we all ate lunch in the factory. Then we did another rotation of activities, but this time they weren’t quite as fun. We saw the hard labor behind all of the candy we’d been enjoying. Some of these stations included scrubbing the factory machinery with toothbrushes, planting Skittles, disposing of overgrown Gobstoppers, and de-contaminating chocolate milk.


These activities became monotonous, and some of the head Oompa Loompas started whispering to us that we were being exploited by Wonka! We started to believe this when we couldn’t even afford candy to enjoy on our very short break.


Then Willy Wonka announced that he was leaving the factory for a short time to go on a cruise. As soon as he left, the Oompa Loompas were free to tell us the harsh reality of working at Wonka’s factory. We went around to hear from different old Oompa workers, and we learned about many of the issues they faced, including low minimum wage, unpaid overtime, repetitive labor, lack of health insurance, and classist education and opportunities. After hearing the hardships behind the sugarcoated jobs, we had chugim (interest groups) discussing various labor issues in the real world. Some of the options were Jews in labor movements, tipping culture, racism in labor movements, and traditional Jewish views on labor.


Then we split into different groups to learn about resistance! Each group practiced a different method of resistance, including knowing their rights, negotiating, chanting through a megaphone, strikes and walkouts, and a banner drop.


Then everybody came back together to share the resistance methods they’d explored and create an escalation plan for improving working conditions at Wonka’s factory. After discussing each method, we decided on an order in which to enact them and came up with a list of demands including higher wages, an eight-hour workday, and more Twizzlers!


We took a break to eat dinner, but then we began our direct action, starting with knowing and demanding our rights. Wonka responded by challenging us to a game of tug-of-war, and since we lost, he refused to respect our rights. We moved on to step two of our escalation plan: negotiation. We tried to debate with Wonka, but he wouldn’t listen, so we moved on to the next step: chants and speeches. We read out our demands through a megaphone and gave speeches explaining why they were important. One of the chants the chanichimot (campers) made up went like this:

Oompa Loompa doopity doo, we want workers’ rights how about you?


Our verbal appeals failed to convince Wonka, so we unveiled a banner on which we’d painted “Wonka is Wack!” Then Wonka challenged us to another match of tug-of-war, but this time more of the Oompa Loompas had been convinced to join the fight for workers’ rights, so we won!


Wonka finally conceded. He apologized for mistreating us and granted our demands. We celebrated our victory with a pool party and delicious kibbud (dessert)!


Special Day was packed with fun, candy, and important lessons!

Shabbat is here!

The first Shabbat of second session has arrived! Shabbat at Mosh is a time to relax and reflect on the week.

We started preparing for Shabbat this afternoon with mechina, a time when chanichimot (campers) can choose between different activities that help set the tone of Shabbat. Today, the options for mechina were learning rikud (Israeli dancing), tefillah (prayer), reflective art, and creating a Mosh siddur (prayer book).


After mechina we had some time to clean our living spaces and get ourselves ready for Shabbat. Once we were all clean and dressed for Shabbat, we enjoyed huggy kissy time, an opportunity to give hugs and Shabbat greetings to friends.


Next we sang Hebrew songs together at Shabbat shira, before walking in a spiral and listening to an inspiring story from our rosh (head of camp). We also heard about the parashat hashavua (weekly Torah portion). Then it was time for Shabbat prayers and dinner! We had a festive and delicious meal in the chadar ochel (dining hall).


Tonight the Chotrimot and Bogrimot will put on an oneg (Shabbat performance), including songs, dances, and skits. After the oneg, we will all do rikud (Israeli dancing) together!


Shabbat is a time for both fun and rest. It has been a great first week of second session, and we’re looking forward to the next one!

Kupa is in the House!

Today at Mosh we learned about one of the core values that underlies many of our camp structures: kupa (sharing)!

We began our day with avodah, a time when we share the labor of keeping machaneh (camp) functional and beautiful. We do this in anafim (work groups) ranging from gardening to mural painting. Below is a member of Anaf MOOP, which stands for Matter Out Of Place and involves gathering trash and other misplaced items around camp. Avodah is a great way for us to enact the value of kupa by taking collective responsibility over Mosh!


Later, we continued to learn about kupa through discussions in pish (activities by age group). We talked about what kupa means and shared examples of kupa at Mosh, including candy, toiletries, and fun trips. Each shichva (age group) chose two chanichimot (campers) to serve as kupa representatives. Kupa reps’ responsibilities include collecting lists of needed items, handing out treats, and setting up a party on Final Mesiba, the last night of the session.


In the afternoon, we had a very important asepha (meeting) to make decisions about kupa at Mosh this session. Everyone was divided into caucuses to allow for small group discussions and voting. After each caucus had chosen a silly name, we talked about the pros and cons of having kupa at machaneh (camp). Every caucus shared a bit about what they had discussed with all of the other caucuses, and one caucus even made up a song about kupa!


Then we took a vote on whether or not we would have kupa at Mosh this session. There was a very clear winning outcome: Yes, we want to have kupa! After coming to this conclusion, we discussed various options of kupa systems. A few examples of these different systems are Machaneh, in which all kupa must be shared with the entire camp, Trickle Up, in which all kupa starts at the Amelimot (the youngest age group) and works its way up as each shichva (age group) takes what it wants, and Dome, in which all kupa is put towards building a giant weatherproof dome over Mosh.


Following small and large group conversations about these options, we voted on which kupa system to use this session. The winner was Machaneh with option of Shichva with option of Tzrif v’Ohel, which allows chanichimot (campers) to share kupa with all of camp, or just the people in their shichva (age group), or just those in their tzrif (cabin) or ohel (tent). The kupa asepha was a lot of fun, and we’re excited to have a kupa system that was chosen collectively and embodies our values.


Tonight we will have a fun tochnit erev (evening activity), continuing to embody the value of kupa by sharing wonderful experiences and memories!

First Day of Second Session!

Today was the beginning of second session 2017! We had a busy day of meeting new people and getting ready for an incredible three weeks! In the morning, the buses and van arrived and the Madatz (counselors in training) dressed up in silly costumes and welcomed the chanichimot (campers) to Mosh. We had a dance party in the MLC and learned a fun Mosh cheer. Then the madrichimot (counselors) introduced themselves, and everybody went to their living spaces to start moving in.


After a delicious lunch, each shikva (age group) rotated through various stations to get settled at Mosh. The activities included a swim test, health checks, meeting the melavimot (inclusion specalists), and a tour of machaneh (camp). Then we watched skits demonstrating all of the options for anafim (work groups), which we do every morning, and chugim (interest groups), which we do every afternoon. One anaf option is Aruchat Boker, which serves and cleans up breakfast, and one chug this session is Family Vacation, where chanichimot (campers) will pretend to go on a family vacation together and do a different related activity each day.


Then we had pish, which stands for peulat shikva, an educational activity by age group. Today, pish consisted of introductions and learning rules. Each shikva (age group) learned the rules of Mosh in a fun way. Some of the chanichimot (campers) found rules written at the bottom of bowls of pudding!


Next was hitkansut erev, a time when we gather at the flagpole to lower the flag, sing, and make announcements before dinner. After dinner, we had a tochnit erev (evening activity). Tonight’s tochnit erev was called Meet the Madrichimot. The chanichimot (campers) went around the MLC in small groups with lists of fun facts about different madrichimot (counselors). The madrichimot were scattered throughout the room dressed in costumes, and each one asked the chanichimot to complete a challenge before revealing which fact was theirs. At the end we heard all of the facts and some funny stories behind them!


It has been a great first day of second session, and we’re so excited for the next three weeks at Mosh!


A Bit About Me

Hi! I’m Maia, and I am the communications specialist for (most of) second session! As Ruth did during first session, I will be writing blog posts and uploading photos to Facebook and CampMinder to keep you updated on what happens here at machaneh (camp).

This is my twelfth summer at Mosh, and I’m so excited to be back again and share what makes this place so special with the chanichimot (campers) and all of you! I just finished my first year at Brown University studying literary arts, so I can’t wait to continue my passion for writing at my favorite place. Below is a picture of me at Mosh in 2009 (I’m the one on the left).


Keep checking this blog, Facebook, and CampMinder for more updates and photos!