Yesterday was Yom Tiyul at Machaneh Moshava. Tiyul doesn’t really have a direct translation to English but roughly means a journey, hike, walk or overnight. And yom means day. Most years tiyul entails going camping with the whole camp and it is always tons of fun! Due to some unforeseen circumstances, we couldn’t camp out in our tents this year, but had a blast with our day!
The day started around 10:30 with organized hikes in the vast and beautiful mosh woods. The chotrimot and bogrimot took one hike while the solelimot and bonimot took another. Along the way, our extremely hydrated chanechimot (campers) talked, played games, and generally enjoyed the nature and wildlife. Mosh owns hundreds of acres of land in addition to the main campsite and this is a great way we utilize all that space!
Both groups eventually made it to the tiyul spot. At the tiyul spot, a predetermined raked and cleared location in our woods, chanechimot (campers) ate lunch, socialized, and played lots of cards! They ate pre-packed sandwiches and veggies under the beautiful canopy. Despite a couple predictable initial complaints, everyone admitted that they had a blast in the end.
We finished off the themed day with chugim (interest groups) that the campers got to choose themselves! There was tubing, river swimming, art, meditation/yoga, and cooking pita and potatoes over a fire. Everyone had kef (fun) at all their chugim and the last option was an enormous hit. Yom tiyul was awesome and we can’t wait for tiyul next year!
Hello everyone and Shabbat Shalom! Today’s blog will highlight some of the mosh’s unsung heroes, our mitbach (kitchen) and especially our Roshe Mitbach (heads of kitchen), Abby Svetlik and Matt Koppel. Today’s post is written with Matt and Abby, and of course, your second-session communications host, Segev Berner-Kadish.
Mosh’s mitbach (kitchen) is unique among North America’s Jewish summer camps, even within our larger youth movement, Habonim Dror. The tzevet mitbach (kitchen staff) are all members of the mosh community and we use no outside labor. For the chanechimot (campers), knowing that some of the same madrechimot (counselors) who worked with them are now cooking their food gives them a greater appreciation for their food and the labor that was put into making it.
Cooking for upwards of 150 people is no easy feat but the life of a mitbach member is mixed with hard work, fun, and an awesome community. Each member is on about 2 meals a day. Each meal involves a variety of responsibilities. The tzevet mitbach arrive 2.5 hours before the meal to start prepping (chopping, boiling, marinating, making food for those with dietary restrictions, and you know, cooking), an hour of serving the meal itself (refilling dishes and keeping everyone fed), and clean-up takes about 45 minutes. All the while, music is blasting (the new Lizzo album is bumping right now!).
Tzevet mitbach loves their jobs. Shula Bronner, pointed out that “it’s important that we’re doing our own labor for our community. Just like the chanechimot (campers) do avodah (work like taking out the trash and cleaning the bathrooms) this is how we contribute. It feels good to know our labor is just as valuable as any of the other counselors’, even if it looks very different. Also, I love this Lizzo album!” It’s a real community. Some of the tzevet (staff) has been working in the mitbach for much of their mosh career, while this is others’ first experience cooking at all. But as Abby appreciates, “you don’t need any cooking skills to do it! The only requirement is that you love mosh :).”
Hello everyone, we are the Bogrimot (going into 10th grade). On Sunday, we took over camp for 6 hours; this is what we call ‘bocoup.’ Our theme was Tropicoup and we had a lot of fun activities like slip ‘n slide, capture the flag, swimming, mattress jousting, and fruit ninja (with baseball bats). We pretended to be on a cruise that caught on fire. Then we had to escape and we split into raft groups to find land. Eventually, we found land and we played games. Finally, we found civilization and had a big party (mesiba).
Bocoup was a lot of responsibility and it felt really fulfilling for all of us. It was a great experience and now we all have more insight on the hard work that our tzevet does everyday. Specifically, Rafi Shore said that running bocoup, “was a really stressful but fun activity to run. I will never forget this experience.” Another member of bogrimot, Zoe Moore, said that, “it was stressful but then it was good. It was chaotic but in the end I had a really good time and I was able to bond with the kids.” Lastly, Gideon Leshner said in reflection, that bocoup was, “fulfilling, exhausting, and [I am more] appreciative of tzevet.”
Overall, the kids had an awesome time and we loved it as well.
Here at Mosh we love pish night. We have pish night every Thursday night. Pish is short for peula shikva, which loosely translates to “age-group activity.” We also have pish during the day but our pish nights are usually fun and out-there, as opposed to the slightly more educational though certainly no less enjoyable daytime pishes.
Pish night starts with everyone in the middle of their shetach (living area) hanging out and waiting for a delicious dinner of hot dogs or hamburgers (this week was hot dogs), veggies, chips, and other good food. Usually things have cooled off by this time and the vibes are immaculate. Friends are hanging out in the grass, playing music, lawn games and other sports.
As dinner wraps up, the chanechimot (campers) split up into their respective shikvot (age groups) and do a different activity that their madrechimot (counselors) planned. Last night, the amelimot and bogrimot, our youngest and oldest campers, did amelimot-bogrim buddy pairings where they were told who their new buddies were through a fun activity and then talked about their interests and why the love camp. The other campers first prepared for their oneg, a fun performance put on by a different group every friday night, and then had a giant dance party. The music could be heard around camp!
All the campers were raving about how much they love pish night, and for good reason! It’s the perfect mix of chill and fun and they are already excited to see what’s in store for next week.
Something unique about Mosh, and Habonim Dror (our parent movement) more generally, is our use of, and fundamental belief in, collective decision-making and kupa. Our camp experience is loosely modeled off of the Israeli Kibbutz, where members of the community share in labor, profits, and decision-making processes. In fact, our tzrifim (cabins) and ohelim (tents) are named after Kibbutzim! Some of the ways this manifests are toranut (where we take turn washing dishes and serving food), avodah (work), and kupa.
Kupa is our system of sharing here at Mosh that, as one chanicha (camper) put it, “allows us campers to give what they can and take what we need, or even just want!” Part of each camper’s camp tuition is designated for their kupa and at the beginning of each session we, as a camp, decide collectively how we are going to distribute that money and other resources, like treats and toiletries. This decision is made at the kupa asefa (meeting), where two counselors facilitate the process and each tzrif (cabin) or ohel (tent) functions as a caucus that deliberates and votes on the proposals before them.
This session’s options for kupa were as follows:
Trickle down (resources start with the oldest kids and trickle down)
Trickle up (resources start with the youngest kids and trickle up)
Trampoline kupa (all our resources are designated to transform the floors of the cabins and tents into trampolines).
Agam kupa (we utilize our resources to buy/create a giant stick to measure the depth of the agam (lake)).
Machane kupah (all resources must be distributed to the whole machaneh (camp)).
Machane with option of shikva with option of tzrif/ohel (all resources can be either split among the people you live with, your age group, or the entire camp).
Rugged individualism a.k.a. capitalism (we return all the money and the campers must fend for themselves and pull themselves up by their Blundstone straps!).
Some of these options are more realistic and actionable than others; while we almost always choose option 6, the democratic and educational process of the asefa (meeting) is incredibly valuable. Kupa affects the chanechimot’s (campers’) daily lives at camp whether that be getting a new toothbrush, sharing their candy, and just generally creating a welcoming and inclusive machaneh (camp) experience for everyone, largely free of class dynamics.
– Segev (He/Him)
P.S. We on tzevet have our own kupa. We have a kupa asefa during construction and use our kupa to pay for our needs and wants, gas money, snacks, and anything we pay for during our time off. We set aside part of our paychecks and forgo using personal money over the summer. If you would like to contribute to tzevet kupa please venmo @Sidra_Hoff. Any amount is appreciated!
AAAHHHHH!!! We are 24 hours into second session and the time is flying by. We started the session with a burst of excited energy as the eccentrically-dressed Madatz (CITs) greeted new chanechimot (campers) as they arrived by bus, car, and van.
Chanechimot (campers) were whisked away to the MLC for first day introductions, cheers, and kef (fun). Screams of “I GO TO MOSH” were heard around Harford County. The campers were then sent back to their cabins with their madrechimot (counselors) to meet, or catch-up with, the other members of their tzrifim and ohelim (cabins and tents), and spend some time unpacking. Look at these smiling faces!
After a delicious mac-and-cheese lunch the campers participated in a round-robin that included health and lice checks, unpacking time, a tour, meeting with our melavimot (mental-health specialists), swim tests, a snack, and pish (age-group activity). On this hot day, the swim tests were certainly a relief for most.
After being briefly interrupted by a shockingly-fun board game-filled thunderstorm in the chadar (dining-hall), we returned to the MLC to learn about anafim (work-groups) and chugim (interest-groups) options. All the madrechimot (chanechimot) want the kids in their groups so these skits are often quite entertaining. One fun example was this skit for chug (interest group) Lord of the Rings:
We ended the night with our traditional first-night tochnit erev (evening activity), meet the madrechimot (counselors). In this activity, chanechimot (campers) are given a list of “facts” about the madrechimot and assigned fun and hilarious challenges to earn the facts from each tzevet (staff) member. This was a personal highlight of my first day at camp all the way back in 2012 and hope it was for this year’s many new campers.
Day 1 was an unqualified success and I can’t wait to keep updating you all on the endless fun of Mosh!
I hope everyone is as excited for second session to start as we are! Before the new campers arrive, I want to introduce myself. My name is Segev Berner-Kadish and I am ecstatic to be taking over as communications specialist for the next three weeks! I have been going to camp since 2012 and am excited to give you all a little insight into the camp Mosh magic through our pictures and blog.
Now please enjoy this incredibly cute video of me reporting live from the give-what-you-can-a-thon in 2013! (Same link posted below)
Shavua Tov, Mosh families! On Sunday, after a restful shabbat, we said goodbye to the Nitzanimot (rising 3rd graders), Amelimot (rising 4th graders), and Garinimot (rising 5th graders). Before the chanichimot (campers) left with their parents and guardians they performed a couple songs, a dance, and some of the cheers they learned over their past couple weeks at machaneh (camp). We miss them already!
Sunday evening was Special Erev. Special Erev (eng. “eve” or “evening”) is very similar to Special Day. Instead of a whole day of immersive learning, on Special Erev we spend an afternoon and evening digging into a topic through creative and experiential learning activities. The topic of this Special Erev was reproductive rights. Chanichimot (campers) learned about the recent Supreme Court decisions and their impact on access to healthcare, Jewish perspectives on abortion, gender and healthcare, and a brief history of abortion acess in the U.S. We ate dinner on the softball field with our tzrif (cabin) or ohel (tent) and chanichimot (campers) discussed what they learned with their madrichimot (counselors).
We’re looking forward to the last week of First Session. There may be some surprises in store for our amazing chanichimot before then… stay tuned!
What a week we’ve had at Mosh! On Monday we celebrated the Fourth of July with a cookout, surprise fireworks, and the playoffs for the biannual Mosh World Series. Twice each summer, Chug (interest group) Softball is divided into two teams that compete in front of all of machaneh (camp) in the Mosh World Series. Everyone was on the edge of their seats and cheering their fellow Moshniks on!
Yesterday was Special Day. Special Day is a day-long, immersive, educational experience. This Special Day’s topic was Immigration and Refugees and the theme was Shrek. The chanichimot (campers) woke up in a totally changed world! The Upper Shetach (rising 7th graders and older) got a wake-up call from Mosh’s goats and by the time breakfast rolled around all of the chanichimot realized they were in Duloc, home to the evil tyrant Lord Farquad! After he banished many people in Duloc, they went to Shrek’s swamp. Shrek and Fiona didn’t want the people of Duloc there either, so they had nowhere to go. The chanichimot spent the day learning about what refugees encounter when they are forced out of their homes by trying to help the banished people of Duloc. We learned about the Visa process, refugee camps, Dreamers/DACA, climate refugees, the refugee crisis in Ukraine, and more.
Today we had a Kuparnival, or a kupa-carnival. Kupa is Mosh’s communal fund, and kupa events are about the whole machaneh having a special shared experience. This year’s Kuparnival featured moonbounces, a blow-up slide, cotton candy, sno-cones, and a great DJ! Now that the party is over, it’s time to bring in Shabbat!
Since shabbat is now over I am able to update you all on our weekend’s activities. At Mosh, the weeds are basically Friday-Saturday with different schedules and activities. We have shabbat prep, and get to deviate from normal life with changes such as Friday lunch being outside, and having double avodah (work) in the morning.
Shabbat really begins with a special time block called huggy-kissy time, which is basically a time for everyone to gather at the toren (flagpole) after getting dressed up nicely for shabbat and see their friends, wish them shabbat shalom, and take nice pictures. We then gather for shabbat shira (singing) and all ring in the end of the week with some classic shabbat tunes. After we all face the setting sun together there is always a big meal of chicken, salad, and potatoes and pre-meal kiddish.
After the meal is time for the oneg. This a performance put on each week for the rest of the camp by some of the campers which includes a play, a modern dance, an Israeli dance, a song, and a mystery project. This past week the oneg was preformed by the Amelimot (Rising 4th), Garinimot( Rising 5th), and Bogrimot (Rising 10th). Kids spend time throughout the week selecting which parts of the oneg they want to be involved in, and rehearse their selections. It is a really fun time for everyone to see what people have been working on and see younger and older kids bonding.
After the oneg the last activity of the evening is rikkud (Israeli dancing) and is a big camp bonding time. Everyone gets really into it and if you don’t know a dance there are always people there to help out and teach you the steps!