July 6, 2018
Imagine waiting the whole school year, going through the same routine day by day, waiting to go to your one happy place. This is basically my life seeing as I’m one of the joyous, extremely happy campers at Camp Tel Yehudah. The past week has gone by in a flash. Although the days feel like ages, when it’s finally shabbat and we’re looking back on the week, it seems to have gone by in the blink of an eye. This week as a caper in Alumim, let’s just say it was crazy. The week started out pretty slowly for me. We had activities such as drama, shira (music), rikud (dance), and many other fun things. One day we even did rikud in the rain which was amazing!! Meals here are definitely different than anything I have at home. At every meal we say the blessing and then enjoy delicious meals from Chinese food to Mexican, American cuisine and everything in between. In the middle of the week, we had the Caravan show, which is this amazing concert by a group of Israeli Scouts. Before the concert the scouts spent the day with us at camp hanging out with all of the campers and staff. Not only was the Caravan show amazing, but it also ended up being the beginning of Maccabiah, which is the color war. The oldest kids at camp plan the whole day and we all participate in it. They do the teams by regions which has its ups and downs. For example, I currently am the only person from my age group on my team, which at first scared me but then I realized I get to meet many new people who have already become my friends. Since coming to camp, I’ve been in a “weird” situation. Before camp I was diagnosed with a severe concussion and although I had time to heal, it wasn’t completely gone. So here I have been, at camp, with my many restrictions and I still wouldn’t give it up for anything. Even though it means I can’t play sports, the color war had so many fun things for me to do that it didn’t really matter.
So far this has been the best summer of my life! The last thing I’d like to say is thank you David for giving us all this amazing experience at TY.
The second week of camp has been incredibly exciting for Tel yehudah! We have had a wide variety of weather, but have all made the best of it. The heat wave—multiple days of nearly 100 degrees—called for many tents to be set up around camp for shade as well as some sprinklers for us to jump through. In addition, campers took an abundance of naps in their relaxing hammocks. When the heat wave came to an end, it was marked by an amazing downpour. The vast majority of the campers in Aleph danced rikkud in the rain under the glow of a beautiful rainbow. Weather aside, all three age groups have only gotten close. This closeness showed at many camp barbeques, our magical second shabbat, and the celebration of the Israeli Scouts Caravan. Another fantastic movement for Tel yehudah was when the people going on Machon (Young Judaea’s Israel summer program for rising 12th graders) came to visit. It was so great to catch up with our friends and wish them a wonderful journey to Israel! Some campers, however, will say that the best part of camp so far is the current event, Maccabiah! Following the fantastic performance of the Caravan, the breakout of Maccabiah took place. We learned that the theme would be different sodas and the competition got underway! The Green Sprite, Red Dr. Pepper, Orange Fanta, and Blue Pepsi gathered their teams and prepared for a very exciting day full of sports, art, dance, song, cheering, and most of all, RUACH! It remains to be seen which team will be victorious, but we will find out tonight. Looking ahead, we cannot wait for trip week and the rest of camp!
From the hype of the Caravan to the chilling tents in Gimmel, so much as happened at camp TY in the last week. One of the biggest things to look forward to on Shabbat is the amazing concert put on by Noah Wilker (TY’s Operations Director and resident Rock Star) on Saturday nights. I can’t get the song he sang about footie pajamas out of my head! Speaking of heads, I got such a bad brain freeze from ice-cream for breakfast, AKA the best holiday ever! Now, let’s address the elephant in the room, today is Maccabiah! Unfortunately, I was put on a team with the cursed campers from New Jersey, which sucks because I hate breaking camp traditions and I know we’re going to win! The Orange team is just too Fantastic to lose! (Editor’s note: They won) In all, this week has been so exciting and I can’t wait until trip week next week.
Until next time, Orange team signing off. Bye!
There is no place in this world where time goes quicker than at Camp Tel Yehudah. Weeks go by in the blink of an eye, and all you can do is make some memories and enjoy the ride. The Hadracha boys’ overnight camping trip to Gimmel (a campsite just across the street from Aleph and Bet) just is one memory that I will never forget. Starting off the day, I was not in the best mood. Not only was there the camping trip—which I had only heard negative things about from other campers—but it was also a fast day (The 17th of Tamuz) which I chose to observe. The specter of an upcoming trip I didn’t want to take and not being able to eat made for a terrible combination. My fellow Hadracha boys and I initially protested going to Gimmel. We went so far as to create a petition that we handed in, but needless to say, we failed—and I’m glad we did. By the end of the morning, I felt depleted. I had never craved camp food so much in my life, but my Jewish soul kept me in check. I spent the rest of the day relaxing and trying to pass the time until I could eat. The fast turned out ot be not so difficult, so I decided to make the trek up to Gimmel with one of my madrichim (counselors). By the time we got there, there were only 10 minutes left in the fast, all of which were spent prepping my feast. After I was done eating, I couldn’t help but be in a good mood. I put my stuff down in a tent and went to find a comfy spot near the campfire to chill and make smores. In hindsight, my spot must have been too comfortable, as I ended up dozing off right there. When I finally came to, everyone in my age group had gone to sleep and I was left alone with my thoughts as I stared into the fire. or the first time since coming to camp, I had time to relax and process what has happened during my time here. Those hours I spent at the fire thinking to myself gave me so much insight to my life, both inside and outside of camp. While the intensity of our schedule and the tremendous amount of fun we have at camp makes camp go by in a flash, being able to process it all has allowed me to appreciate my time here that much more.
– Asher Fitterman
In the past week, the power of peer leaders (one of Young Judaea’s five core pillars) has manifested itself more strongly than at any other time during my ten years as a camper. Since arriving at camp, Hadracha (the oldest age group) has been charged with the abstract mission of becoming “leaders.” this week, that goal found concrete expression. So much so, in fact, that now, with the end of Maccabiah (color war) fast approaching, our anxiety about who will win is overpowered by a sense of pride and unity. This week, we have sacrificed chofesh to brainstorm cheers, spent hours in a sweaty rom to perfect team posters, and done myriad logistical tasks to ensure the day would go smoothly. These acts have been performed willingly not only by the Maccabiah captains, but each member of Hadracha has made contributions. These combined efforts have established our group as a powerful leadership body here at camp. Over the past week we have also been preparing to be informed agents of change in the world outside of camp. We dedicated much of this week to meeting in our selected tikkun groups to debate and research social justice issues in advance of our trip to Washington, D.C. next week. My tikkun group is focused on racial inequality and criminal justice reform; this week we watched the documentary “13th” and researched organizations and politicians with diverse opinions. We will meet with some of them next week to explore issues dealing with race in America and what we can do about them. Of course, we are also developing as leaders in small informal ways. Last shabbat hadracha campers made essential contributions to services, shira, and rikkud. As we move about our lives at camp, we model respectful spirited participation. We are doing this not because we were asked to do so but because the camp environment makes leadership feel easy and fun. Here, we are encouraged to be ourselves, freed from the pressures of academic achievement, empowered to change the world, and loved and valued for all our contributions.
– Abigail Sylvor Greenberg
Hadracha is a time when teens learn about themselves and their surroundings. This past week, we focused on tikkun groups and preparing for our trip week to Washington, D.C. At the same time, our other energies were focused on the planning of Maccabiah. It brought all of Hadracha together to form a community of passionate, inspiring, and motivational kids who will showcase our skills for Alumim and Yachad. Not only did we come together as a community, but it showed us what we are capable of and how far we can push ourselves. Throughout the week, we’ve had peulot focusing on the idea of leadership and coming together and now we’ve been able to put all of those ideas to the test in Maccabiah. We will continue to do so next week as we head to Washington to speak with leaders on the issues that we are most passionate about. I have learned so much about what it means to be a “dugma ishit,” a personal example, and all of the responsibility that comes along with it. I know I will carry it with me throughout my life and it couldn’t have happened any other place besides our home, right here at Camp Tel Yehudah.
Unofficial TY Packing List
- Orange clothing for Maccabiah (a healthy campwide competition) because at TY it’s a must to have teams with unattainable clothing colors.
- A portable fan for when a heat wave hits and you feel as if you are living in a vat of soup.
- Earplugs – this is essential for anything musical led by Ben Freed, who makes t’fillot happen but is rarely on key.
- An additional wardrobe so you can be prepared and fashionable after you lose all your clothing during laundry.
- (4) Extra water bottles because you will inevitably lose the first four.
- 2-in-1 soap and shampoo so you can get out of your frigid shower twice as fast.
- Crocs!! Though considered “uncool” in everyday life, crocs are high fashion at Camp Tel Yehudah.
- Fun stickers to decorate your water bottle. Bonus points for obscure pop culture references and Jewish puns.
- Clothes for sweaty rikkud (Israeli dancing) on Saturday night (go hard or go home).
- Junior Camp pride, because you should remember where you came from, no matter where you go (CYJ Midwest represent!)