Friday, July 31, 2009

Almost at the end of the summer :(

It’s Friday evening and we are currently in the middle of some energetic rikudei am (Israeli folk dance).  We just saw an oneg performed by the Amelim and the Chotrim after a chicken and matzo ball soup dinner.

Yesterday was our last Yom Ragil (regular day).  In addition to our normal activities, we did a peula (activity) for Tisha B’Av.  The chanichim walked through a museum of tableaux representing various tragedies in the history of the Jewish people.  Then each shichva had a sicha (discussion) related to Tisha B’Av and prepared a speech to give at the machaneh-wide tekes (ceremony) that followed.  The mood was somber and commemorative as the tekes unfolded.

Emotion is at a high right now as we enter our last Shabbat of the summer.  Already we have seen the tears of several chanichim who are going to miss being at Gilboa.  We are going to make the best of the last two days of the summer!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Zap, Tiyul, Yom Teva!


Second session has been packed!  Take a look:

The day after Revo—Yom Sheni (Monday)—was a yom ragil (regular day).  The tochnit erev (evening activity) was a variant of “Zap,” a Gilboa tradition.  During Zap, the chanichim (campers) wear dark clothing in order to sneak across the machaneh (camp) with getting “zapped”—a madrich/a (counselor) shining a flashlight on a chanich/a and saying “Zap!  Go back!”  This year, the chanichim sneaked from the medura pit to the migrash sport in order to escape the oppressive political regime of their home country.

Yom Shlishi (Tuesday) was tiyul.  However, instead of going on a hike, the machaneh took a day trip to a local apple farm.  The Bonim and the Bogrim left for the farm first.  Upon arrival, they were greeted with a delicious caramel apple snack.  On the farm, they learned about apple farming, rode a tractor, shot BB guns at soda cans, tasted preserves and apple butter, used a cider press, brushed a pig named blossom and petted a horse named Duke, and visited an apiary to learn about bees.  Meanwhile, the Amelim, Chotrim, and Shomrim participated in a peula (activity) about food justice back at machaneh.

The Amelim, Chotrim, and Shomrim joined the Bonim and Bogrim at the farm for lunch.  We took a short hike over a creek to a beautiful grassy area shaded by oak trees in order to eat our packed lunches and drink our fresh-pressed apple cider.  Following lunch, the Amelim, Chotrim, and Shomrim toured the farm and ate caramel apples, while the Bonim and Bogrim returned to machaneh to learn about food justice.

If it seems that the day couldn’t get better, you are mistaken.  The tochnit erev on Yom Shlishi was Wish Night.   At the beginning of the session, each chanich/a submits three wishes.  On Wish Night, the tzevet helps make one wish a reality for each chanich/a!

Yom Revi’i (Wednesday) is almost a yom ragil; it has a Yom Teva (Nature Day) twist.  All of today’s activities have an environmental connection.  The machaneh is threatened by Smashy Hands—a flower-crushing monster with a Siamese twin (twice the smash per hour!).  The chanichim will need to defeat Smashy Hands before the day is out.  Furthermore, the peula for each shichva (age group) revolves around the connection between Judaism and environmental responsibility.

The evening will end with a medura (campfire), kumsitz (sing-alongs), banana boats, and stargazing.  Keep an eye out for that meteor shower tonight!

Sunday, July 26, 2009



The weekend saw another beautiful Shabbat with rest, relaxation, and a little bit of rain to settle the dust.  If you haven’t been following the blog all summer, the post from Tuesday, July 7, 2009 can give you a better idea of what makes a Gilboa Shabbat so special.

Yom Rishon was Revolution, when the madatzim (counselors-in-training) kick the madrichim (counselors) out of camp and assert their hadracha (leadership)!  This year, Revolution was circus themed.  The chanichim (campers were divided into different circus members—acrobats, fire-breathers, jugglers, etc.  Throughout the morning, they did fun activities to fine-tune their circus skills.

Later in the day, the kids discovered that the circus had been purchased by a couple of wealthy entrepreneurs.  Although this did not seem initially problematic, it became increasingly clear that the new owners were attempting to eradicate the individuality of circus members.

Unwilling to put up with the oppression, the chanichim revolted against the new owners and reclaimed their uniqueness.

The evening finished with cotton-candy filled mesiba (party) to celebrate the victory!

Vive la révolution!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Beginning of Second Session


Second session is off to a great start!

After the arrival of new chanichim (campers) on Yom Shlishi (Tuesday), the kids spent the day getting acquainted with the site and their new kvutsot (groups).  That evening, the schavot (age groups) became a group from the “Lord of the Kvutsot” (Amelim - Hobbits, Chotrim - Dwarves, Shomrim - Elves, Bonim – Men of Rohan, Bogrim – Men of Gondor).  In these groups, they worked to destroy the all-powerful ring of apathy.

The first Yom Ragil (regular day) of the session was filled with tons of ruach (energy/spirit) and collective cheering.  In the evening, the chanichim celebrated Habonim Dror North America’s 75th birthday party by bringing presents and toasts from various other Habonim Dror countries around the world—including Uruguay, the United Kingdom, South Africa, Mexico, Turkey, and New Zealand.

Yom Chamishi (Thursday) was Yom Israel!  The day began with a shakshouka breakfast, followed by a co-existence round robin.  The chanichim examined similarities between Hebrew and Arabic, as well as the biblical ancestral ties to Abraham.  They did chetz v’keshet (archery) to break waterballoon dams at the sources of the Tigris and the Euphrates in order to reroute water to the whole of the Middle East.  They heard stories of the universality of sunflower seeds, as well as tales of the Golden Age between Arabs and Jews.

The coexistence round robin was followed by a soccer tournament among the groups of chanichim, who represented various Israeli cities: Haifa, Tel Aviv, Eilat, Akko, Jerusalem, and Tiberias.  The chanichim painted their faces with a team color and cheered on their teammates.  The tournament ended in a heated game between the chanichim and a madatz-tzevet team—the chanichim won.

The chanichim then filed into lunch, which was set-up as a shuk with hummus, falafel, Israeli salad, tahina, fries, and pita.  After lunch, the chanichim spent an hour relaxing at the Kinneret.  The schavot then divided, splitting into schavot to do a peula (activity) about stereotypes, generalizations, and the process of imagining peace.

The evening included a snack of choco b’sakit (chocolate milk in a bag—an Israeli drink) and avatiach (watermelon), a shnitzel dinner, and a viewing of the film Promises.

Tomorrow, we will prepare for Shabbat with tzrif cleaning, showers, and dressing up!

We are also saying goodbye to our Nitsanim tomorrow!  We’ll miss their sweetness and ruach, but we can’t wait to see them in Amelim next year!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Beginning of Second Session!!!

We are sooo happy to let you know that the campers arrived safe and sound with bright smiles and couldn't wait to get rolling. Below are a list of counselors broken down by age group:

Nitsanim (Entering 3rd and 4th Grade): Zak, Alysse, and Miya
Amelim (Entering 4th and 5th grade): Zev and Noey
Chotrim (entering 6th and 7th grade): Emily and Hasaki
Shorim (Entering 8th Grade): Emma and George
Bonim (Entering 9th grade): Niki and David
Bogrim (Entering 10th Grade): Noah and Sarah

End of Session 1 and Intersession

Well, first session is over and it flew by!

After Yom Meyuchad (Special Day) on Yom Shlishi (Tuesday), we had two
yamei ragil (regular days).  Celebration of Shabbat happened in the
Gilboa tradition.  However, the weekend was spiced up by Final Mesiba
(party) on Saturday evening.  The chadar ochel transformed into a
miniature county fair, filled with cotton candy, soda, ice cream
sundaes, and snowcones.  Inside the chadar ochel, chanichim were
dancing, sending notes of appreciation to one another, and having
their fortunes told.  Outside on the kadur af (volleyball court),
chanichim in socks jumped around on a moonbounce.  After the younger
chanichim went to bed, the older kids watched a late-night movie.

Tired and happy, the kids brought their bags down and gathered for the
last hitkansut boker (morning gathering) of the session.  This was
followed by breakfast and then by many tearful goodbye hugs.  The
first bus left with the chanichim traveling to the Ontario airport,
Irvine, and San Diego and then the second bus left for Los Angeles.

After the departure of the first session chanichim, intersession
began.  Intersession is the period of time between the end of first
session and the beginning of second session which is run by the
madatzim (counselors-in-training).  Although madrichim are around and
available to chanichim if needed, the madatzim run relaxing and fun
programming for the intersession chanichim.

We miss all the chanichim who left after first session, but everyone
here is excited for the imminent start of second session!

By the way, for those of you who are nostalgic for Visitors’ Day or
were not able to make it, feel free to check out the footage!

The pictures are here:

The videos are here:

Amelim - Yachad -

Bogrim - Lo Kala Darkenu -

Everyone - Haleluya -

Everyone - Shir LaShalom -

Bonim Song -

Bogrim Song -

Friday, July 17, 2009

Thursday July 16

It’s been an exciting week here at Machaneh Gilboa.

Visitor’s Day was a great success. Everyone enjoyed meeting and seeing each others’ families. The weather was great, the food plentiful, and the ruach (spirit) was at high. For those of you that were able to visit, we loved meeting you and hope you enjoyed your time here.

Tuesday was Yom Meyuchad (Special Day), a day where a special theme is chosen and the day’s activities are devoted to that theme. This year’s theme revolved around examination of the labor practices on cruise lines. The chanichim (campers) awoke to being passengers on a tropical cruise, complete with a stately dining room, leis, and a peppy crew. The morning's activities included a pool party, karaoke, human checkers, and dancing.

But it soon became clear that there was something amiss on this particular cruise ship. At lunch the ship’s crew showed fatigue and the burdens of their hard work under the rule of their overbearing captain. Suddenly, the ship was attacked by friendly pirates, who sought to show the passengers the true story of their lavish cruise. The pirates explained that the workers were forced to work for low pay and long hours without breaks. The cruise-goers also learned of the turmoil in the home countries of the crew members, which led them to join the crew of the ship in the first place.

In the end, it was a lesson of worker’s rights and how the youth can empower themselves to effect change in their immediate community. Of course, the day was not complete without Gilboa’s own “Human Battleship,” played with two teams, a separation wall, and water balloons.

Wednesday was a Yom Ragil (regular day), with all the usual exciting rock wall climbing, canoeing, swimming, singing, and educational activities. The camp picture was taken, which is always a fun event. Each chanich will receive a copy of it on their return home.

Today (Thursday) we got our first rain of the summer. While some chanichim remained indoors playing games or doing rikudei am (Israeli folk dance), others frolicked outside, got a little muddy, and then went to shower and get dry.

Tomorrow will surely be an enjoyable and restful Erev (night) Shabbat. The Bonim are due to put a creative and hilarious oneg (play) and the Shomrim will be performing the song at Kabbalat Shabbat.

We wish you Shabbat Shalom!!! Have a restful Sabbath and good weekend!!!

The scene at the pool party

Dodging a waterballoon in Human Battleship

Enjoying tropical juice at the pool.

More fun at the pool party.

The Machaneh Photo!!!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Tyul and Yom Gilboa

Monday and Tuesday were yamei ragil (regular days).  On Tuesday night,
however, an evil alien queen, who had been plotting to take over
Gilboa, abducted one of our madrichot and placed her under a mind
control spell.  In order to break the queen’s spell, the chanichim
joined the elite forces of the P.I.B. (People In Black) and searched
the site for aliens.  The meandering aliens obliged the chanichim to
solve perplexing puzzles in order to obtain clues as to the best way
to approach the queen.  After much sleuthing, the chanichim succeeded
in converting the evil alien queen from an invader to a Gilboaphile.

On Wednesday and Thursday, we took an overnight tiyul (hike).
Wednesday morning, chanichim packed lunches and filled their backpacks
with jugs of water.  The Amelim (entering 4th and 5th grades), Sayarim
(entering 6th grade), and Chotrim (entering 7th grade) took the 3 mile
round trip hike to Poopout Hill.  The Shomrim (entering 8th grade),
Bonim (entering 9th grade), Bogrim (entering 10th grade), and Madatz
(entering 12th grade) hiked 4.5 miles to Jackstraw Springs and back.
Chanichim were shuttled from the trailhead to the sleeping location
where they slept outside under the stars.  The following morning, the
chanichim packed up the campsite and filed onto a bus.  We drove over
to Swim Beach—a beach on Big Bear Lake—where we spent the afternoon
playing, dancing, and swimming.

Tired from hiking and having fun, the chanichim returned to machaneh
to shower, eat a delicious enchilada dinner, and watch a movie in the
chadar ochel.

The following days, we celebrated Shabbat in the typical Gilboa
style—dancing, singing, discussion, relaxation, and reflection—and we
prepared for the arrival of visitors on Sunday.   And, as many of you
know, Yom Gilboa was a lot of fun.  The chanichim were excited by the
arrival of family, friends, and t-shirts!  We enjoyed a performance by
the chanichim, as well as high tea by shichva (age group).  For those
of you who couldn’t make it yesterday, we missed you.  And to those of
you who came up the mountain, thanks for visiting!

See you next year!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

What's new?

Much has happened since our last blog post!

Our celebration of Shabbat began when the whole community—dressed in our nice Shabbat clothing—gathered at the toren (flagpole).  We sang Hatikva before dividing into mishpachot (families) by eizor (geographical area).  The entire Machaneh then walked down to the migrash sport (sport field).  Seated in a circle, we watched the Bogrim perform a Kabbalat Shabbat song before listening to the Rosh’s Shabbat story.  Then we rose to greet the Sabbath Queen by singing Hachama Merosh towards the setting sun.  Salutations of “Shabbat Shalom” and hugs followed.

After a matzo ball soup and chicken dinner, the voices of chanichim filled the chadar ochel (dining hall) with Shabbat Shira (Shabbat singing).  The chanichim had a short chofesh (free time) before the Madatz oneg (play) and hours of rikudei am (Israeli folk dancing).

The following morning, the chanichim had a late kima (wake up).  For the early risers, there were games and breakfast in the chadar ochel, as well as the traditional Saturday morning games of Gaga (a sort of dodgeball).  Following breakfast, madrichim (counselors) led the chanichim through stretching and a guided meditation.  Afterwards, the machaneh divided into small groups to read and discuss the parshat hashavoua (weekly torah portion).  We did two sets of Shabbat chugim (interest groups) before lunch.  After lunch, the kids went did “Hyde Park”—a time set aside for chanichim to get on their soapbox and give constructive criticism or compliments.  The madatz planned and ran the following hour for the chanichim as part of their hadracha (leadership) training.  Madatz time was followed by Zman Shichva (age group time) and chofesh.  During Musicale, chanichim and madrichim played instruments and sang songs silhouetted by the setting sun before the traditional Saturday evening hamburger dinner.  After havdallah under the stars, the entire machaneh went to the medura (campfire) pit for a talent show and kumsitz (sing-alongs).

Yom Rishon (Sunday) was a yom ragil (regular day).  The tochnit erev was a wax museum of figures such as Hannah Senesh, Martin Luther King Jr., Crazy Horse, Harriet Tubman, and Emma Goldman.  The figures escaped the museum, but were reluctantly captured and returned by groups of chanichim.  The groups wrote informational plaques and presented their respective figures to the rest of the machaneh

Later that evening—or some might say early in morning—the chanichim were woken up for Aliya Bet (the Second Aliya) to go on a journey from Eastern Europe to British Mandatory Palestine. They prepared their passports, learned about what to expect once they arrived in the Middle East while making pita over a campfire, and trained to be chalutztim (pioneers) in Palestine. They snuck through the forest, past British troops, into Palestine. Upon arrival in Palestine, they enjoyed pita and hummus and then returned to bed before a late wake-up.

We’ll have more stories and pictures soon!!!




A few Sayarot perform a song

A member of Shomrim plays the trumpet

A member of Bonim plays the keyboard:

Madrichim singing

A member of Bogrim plays the flute

Two Bogers perform a song

The overalls crew sings "Big Rock Candy Mountain"

Madrichim and chanichim perform together!

Some of the Bonot

A madatzkirut (madatz madrichim + mazkirut) intro leads to...

the weekly tzevet song!


Crazy Horse

Wangari Maathi

Benazir Bhutto, Hannah Senesh, Albert Einstein, Harriet Tubman

Emma Goldman, Michael Jackson, Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King

KIDS LOVE CROCS (only with a backstrap!)


Amelim ruach rocks the ma'agal (circle)!

Bogrim sings their kvutsa cheer!


Two members of Bonim on the couch

Chotrim on the couch

The Merakez Chinuch (educational director) demonstrates non-violent resistance

Color coordination!

Keep your eyes peeled for more pictures after tiyul!