Aliyah Bet

Last night, instead of a normal tochnit erev (evening activity), we had Aliyah Bet! This is an activity we do every year where we learn about the migration of a certain group of Jews to Israel. This year, the theme of Aliyah Bet was the migration of Ethiopian Jews to Israel. The chanichim (campers) began the night by walking around to a variety of stations that introduced them to different aspects of Ethiopian Jews and their journey to Israel.

At one station, the chanichim (campers) learned about Ethiopian culture by looking at pictures of their instruments, clothing, food, and holidays.

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At a different station, chanichim (campers) learned about a sect of Ethiopian Jews called the Falashmura, which is a group of Ethiopian Jews that converted to Christianity and continued to practice Judaism in secret. Subsequently, Israel made it much harder for this group to immigrate to Israel. To simulate this, the chanichim divided into two groups and played a game of basketball. One group was allowed to hold onto the ball and travel with it, while the other group had to dribble and was frequently chastised for not dribbling well enough. This symbolized the differences between the Ethiopian Jews and the Falashmura, who had to go through a number of obstacles in order to prove that they were Jewish.

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After going through all of the stations, the chanichim (campers) participated in a hike in the surrounding woods around Mosh. This symbolized how the Ethiopian Jews had to walk across Sudan in order to be airlifted into Israel. Once the hike was over, the chanichim made their way to the basketball court, where they went on a mock plane ride. While on the “plane”, the chanichim read books about Israel and drew pictures of what they thought their destination might look like.

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The night ended with donuts in the chadar ochel (dining hall), and then the chanichim were sent to bed. This was a fun way for the chanichim (campers) to learn about a different group of Jews and their hardships!

Tikkun Olam- Repairing the World

Every session, our machaneh (camp) participates in Tikkun Olam, which translates to Repairing the World. This is when we leave camp and do community service in the surrounding areas. A huge part of our education is to teach the chanichim (campers) about social justice and actualization, and by participating in Tikkun Olam, we allow our chanichim to both learn about social issues and to take part in fixing the problems.

Yesterday, the entire machaneh (camp) worked with Repair the World, a non-profit organization focused on empowering young adults and communities through community service and Jewish learning (http://www.meetup.com/Repair-the-World-Baltimore/). We split into three groups and each headed to different community garden sites in inner city Baltimore. These gardens were made in food desert communities, where there are no accessible grocery stores in the area for the residents to go to. The gardens were made so that people in the community could come and take vegetables that they needed. The aim was to make sure everyone in the communities had access to healthier food.

The chanichim (campers) helped take weeds out of the gardens so the vegetables could grow more easily. They also helped pick up trash in the surrounding areas.

IMG_1768 DSC_0396 DSC_0404 DSC_0397 DSC_0387 DSC_0380After helping in the garden, the chanichim (campers) had a conversation about food deserts and food justice, which is the idea that everyone deserves access to healthy and affordable food. The chanichim were able to both learn about an important social issue, as well as help out their surrounding communities.

First Shabbat

Shabbat Shalom Moshava community!

This weekend was our first Shabbat at Mosh. Friday and Saturdays are very different from the rest of the week here– we have a more relaxed schedule, which gives chanichim (campers) time to reflect on the past week and appreciate Shabbat. Fridays start out the same as most days at Mosh– we have avodah (work) in the morning, and also do peulat shichvah (an educational activity) with our age groups. However, in the afternoon, chanichim (campers) are given time to clean their tzifim/ohelim (cabins/tents), shower, and get ready for Shabbat.

Kabbalat Shabbat begins with everyone meeting at the toren (flagpole) in order to wish each other Shabbat Shalom and mingle with friends.

DSC_0384 DSC_0387 DSC_0415 DSC_0430 DSC_0432After that, everyone holds hands and makes their way down the Kikar (path). We form a spiral in the grass, and sit and listen to chanichim (campers) and our Rosh (head of camp, Lila Weintraub) share their thoughts about Shabbat and some words of wisdom for the upcoming week.

DSC_0439 DSC_0441We then have Kabbalat Shabbat in the grass, facing the setting sun. This week, the Bogrim (going into 10th grade) shared some poems and prayers that they found meaningful, and we said the blessings over the candles, wine, and bread.DSC_0446 DSC_0450 DSC_0447After saying the blessings, we all headed to the chadar ochel (dining hall) for a delicious Shabbat dinner. We then sang Shabbat songs together, and did rikud (Israeli dancing) together as a machaneh (camp).

On Saturday, chanichim (campers) get the chance to spend time with the other kids in their tzrifim and ohelim (cabins and tents), relax around machaneh (camp), and wind down from the past week. Though this Saturday was a little bit rainy, we all still enjoyed each other’s company and the opportunity to celebrate Shabbat as a community. Shabbat is one of my favorite times of the week, and I can’t wait till next week when we can celebrate again as a machaneh (camp)!

Zman Metzuyan: Let’s Learn about Israel!

Zman Metzuyan (excellent time) is a time we have every day where chanichim (campers) can learn about Israeli history, culture, politics, and current events. It allows chanichim to explore questions they have about Israel, and begin figuring out what Israel means to them. Yesterday, we had the first zman metzuyan of the session! To introduce our Israel education program, and start kids off thinking about Israel, we had a number of stations that kids could walk around to and participate in.

At one station, chanichim (campers) learned about different places and climates of Israel, including the Negev (desert),  Ha Chof (beach), Mt. Heron (mountains), and Ha Ya’ar (forest). The chanichim were then able to dress up in crazy costumes and have a photo shoot at different areas around Israel!

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At another station, the chanichim (campers) were able to look at a mini-gallery of Israeli artist’s work. They could explore the different paintings and photographs, and get exposed to a wide variety of types of art in Israel.

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There was also a station that allowed chanichim (campers) to answer the prompt “My question about Israel is ________.” Chanichim were able to write down what confused them about Israel, and begin identifying things they wanted to learn about Israel during the summer.

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At a different station, chanichim (campers) could color in a map of Israel according to their vision of how it should look.  Chanichim could begin to think about Israel critically, and come up with their own ideas as to how Israel should be structured.

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At the last station, chanichim (campers) could answer different prompts like “my Israel looks like…” or “my Israel governs like…”. Again, at this station, chanchim were able to identify what Israel was to them, and how they think it should look or structure itself.

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After these stations, chanichim (campers) split up by shichvot (age groups) and had conversations about the activities they just did. Chanichim discussed what they had learned, and identified any questions the different activities brought up about Israel. They also described different things they wanted to learn about Israel throughout the summer, and what sort of things they wanted to bring home about Israel after the summer ended.

After the discussions, zman metzuyan ended in a machaneh (camp) wide dance party to Israeli music! Overall, this was a great way for chanichim (campers) to begin exploring Israel and their connection to the Jewish state. We’re all excited to continue this Israel education throughout the summer!

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Pish Spotlight: Chotrim

For today’s pish, I joined the Chotrim (going into 6th and 7th grade) while they learned about kupa and working together as a team. Kupa is our system of sharing at Mosh. It allows us to practice communal living, and appears in many different ways around machaneh (camp). For example, chanichim (campers) share their candy, food, and toiletries with each other, and no one at machaneh (camp) has personal money to spend. Kupa also appears in more abstract ways. Our system of kupa encourages chanichim (campers) to treat each other equally and with respect. It also requires chanichim to work together daily to achieve their goals.

During pish, the Chotrim began by playing a game of “Ninja”, where chanichim (campers) stand in a circle and each take turns trying to hit each other’s hands by jumping around and karate chopping. This was a good way of warming the kids up and allowing them to blow off some steam before they began the educational aspects of the peula (activity).

DSC_0287 DSC_0290 DSC_0294 DSC_0299Next, the Chotrim were divided into two groups, and given the task to transport water from one bin to another using plastic cups. One team was told that they could stand in a line and pass the cups from person to person in order to fill up the bin. The other team was told that they had to go one by one and walk each cup to the bin.

DSC_0269 DSC_0271 DSC_0272 DSC_0274 DSC_0275In the end, the team that was standing in a line and passing cups was able to fill up their bin faster than the team that had to go one by one! The chotrim then had a conversation about why the first team was more successful, and talked about the importance of working together in order to accomplish goals.

After this conversation, the Chotrim split up into groups again and came up with skits about different ways people work together and share around machaneh (camp). Some examples they used were sharing candy and toiletries (like shampoo or conditioner) with each other. The Chotrim then learned about kupa at Mosh, and elected two kupa representatives! Kupa representatives are the people that the Chotrim can go to if they lose something or need something, like a new toothbrush or a water bottle. The kupa representatives are in charge of telling the madrichim (counselors), who will make sure the chanich or chanicha gets what they need.

Meet the new Chotrim kupa reps: Ezra and Sarah!
Meet the new Chotrim kupa reps: Ezra and Sarah!

After electing the kupa representatives, the Chotrim got together and learned some Chotrim cheers to sing after meals in the chadar ochel (dining hall). To end the pish, the Chotrim all stood up and sang together as a shichva (age group).

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Here’s my favorite Chotrim cheer that they learned!

Well it looks like your team has got the boogy woogy blues

And if your team can’t boogy, your team is gonna lose!

Come on  and boogy, come on and boogy

The Chotrim Boogy!

CHOTRIM! CHOTRIM!

And if you ain’t Chotrim take your bad self home!

What did we learn today?

“I learned fun new cheers and a new game!” -Jonah
“I learned that teamwork is important and makes thing easier.” -Joe
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“I learned why kupa is important at Mosh!” -Kayla
“I learned a new cheer to sing after meals.” -Danielle

Pish Spotlight: Amelim

Peulat shichvah (age group activity), or pish for short, is a time we have every day where kids split up into their shichvot (age groups), and have discussions about a wide variety of topics including camp, interpersonal relationships, the environment, social justice in the United States and around the world, and more! Pish is a time for chanichim (campers) to learn from their madrichim (counselors) and from each other, and helps shape their values for the rest of their lives. Throughout the session, you can read about different peulot (activities) that will be led for chanichim (campers) of all ages.

Tonight, I will be writing about the Amelim (going into 4th and 5th grade) and their first peulat shichvah! On the first day, it is important for all of the chanichim (campers) to understand camp rules going into the summer. So for their pish, the Amelim got to learn all of the Mosh rules by playing fun games and even getting a cool souvenir!

The pish started with all of the Amelim playing a name game so that they could continue getting to know each other better. Afterwards, the Amelim got in a circle and played pass the parcel. This game is similar to hot potato. It involves chanichim passing around a package while music is playing, and when the music stops, the chanich or chanicha who is holding the package gets to take something out of it. Today, the Amelim were passing around a package of t-shirts that had rules written on them. When the music stopped, the chanich or chanicha who was holding the t-shirt package would take one out and read the rule on it. Afterwards, all of the chanichim got to keep their t-shirts!

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This pish was a fun way for the Amelim to learn about the camp rules while getting to play a game. Plus, the kids now have a cool t-shirt to wear around camp so that no one ever forgets the rules!

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First Session Begins!

Welcome to First Session 2015!!!

After months of waiting, Mosh is finally here! First session began today, and everyone here could not be more excited! The chanichim (campers) arrived on buses today, and were greeted by the madatz (counselors in training) dressed in silly costumes.

Madatz (counselors in training) chase down the buses!

Chanichim (campers) ran off the buses cheering and laughing, and whether this was their first summer or their fifth, it was easy to tell that all of the kids were excited to be here. The chanichim (campers) then and headed to the MLC (the big indoor pavilion) to meet their madrichim (counselors) and get sorted into their shichvot (age groups).

DSC_0282 DSC_0292 DSC_0283In the MLC, the chanichim got to see their old friends from past summers, and begin meeting new people! Music played from the speakers, and the whole camp danced, sung, and cheered together as we all welcomed in the new session.

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Mazkirut for Summer 2015: Lila Weintraub, Marissa Friedman, and Josh Friedman!
Mazkirut for Summer 2015: Lila Weintraub, Marissa Friedman, and Josh Friedman!

Chanichim (campers) were then split into their shichvot (age groups), and went with their madrichim (counselors) to their respective tzrifim/ohelim (cabins/tents) to start unpacking. Everyone was excited to begin settling into their spaces, and also to start getting to know each other better.DSC_0339 DSC_0340 DSC_0342 DSC_0345 DSC_0351After a delicious lunch of chicken nuggets, chanichim (campers) split up by their shichvot (age groups) and went on a round robin around machaneh (camp) that included a tour of camp, unpacking time, a swim test, health checks, and more!

Later, chanichim (campers) got to watch skits put on by the madrichim (counselors) introducing different avodah (work groups) and chugim (special interest groups) options that chanichim could sign up for. Keep checking the blog throughout the session to learn more about the avodah and chugim that the chanichim do everyday!

As the chanichim (campers) get ready for dinner, it’s obvious that all the kids are happy and ready to see what the summer holds for them. This has been a great first day at Mosh, and we are all so excited for the rest of the session! Make sure to keep checking the blog everyday for updates about what your kids are doing, and also feel free to check us out on Facebook for more pictures of Mosh!