Friday, December 25, 2009

Our Last Day!

Sof Machaneh Choref 2009!
What an inspiring week it's been. Your kids are on the buses and headed safely toward the Ontario Airport, Irvine, and Los Angeles.
The Ontario/Irvine bus left about 8:45am, followed by the LA bus, leaving at 9:30am. Hugs were given all around and some tears hit snow, but everyone left in high and happy spirits.

Thank you all for sending your kids to machaneh, it would not be the same without each of their spirits, minds, and hearts.

Aleh v'Hagshem, we'll see you at the ken!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Final day at Machaneh Choref… time flies when you’re having fun! Today has been crazy fun, starting with a nice sleep in after an intense day yesterday. A bunch of younger chanichim were in the chadar ochel starting pretty early, as usual, playing games, guitar, and munching on a yummy breakfast of bagels, cereal, and fruit salad. Once everyone joined us, Bogrim led some stretches in Hitamlut Boker, followed by Chugim and Peula Shikvah (PISH). We’ve had some packing and cleaning time, and boy are we impressed by your kids! They really know how to step up for the collective.

These five days have been jam packed with lots of Kef (fun) and Chinuch (education), largely based on our theme of ‘Lihiot Hashinui – Be The Change.’ Today we rounded-out this process with a peula called Be The Carrot; you can ask your kids for the explanation- it’s hard to put on paper to say the least. In the end, however, we all met the Carrot Guru who explained that all change, social, personal, political, has been made possible because of individuals and communities like ours. Essentially, we have the power to create any change we believe in, and we can Be the Change we Wish to See in the World!

An Israel highlight: Zman Shaliach!

For those of you who don’t know our Shaliach, (Israeli emissary), his name is Achiya Schatz, and he came to work with us in September al the way from Israel full of awesome ideas, inspiration, and love. The first peula Achiya ran for our older chanichim focused on the Israeli Army, debating the pros and cons of this romanticized entity. They discussed the that the army comes from a place of necessity not choice, and related the intensive army experience to that of kvutsah.

For Chotrim and Shomrim Achiya also related the army to kvutsah experiences, focusing on the importance of challenging scenarios in building kvutsah dynamic. Amelim explored places in Israel, discussing their personal connections in order to understand why and how Israel is important to them.

Tonight we have Meducal which is a time for everyone and anyone to perform songs, skits, poems and the like, a long-time tradition at Gilboa. Afterwards, final Messibah (party) will be rockin with music, games, karaoke, snow cones, and more. As sad as we all are that Machaneh is coming to a close, we’re also aware that this has been a magical and empowering experience.

Aleh v’Hagshem!

“Machaneh Choref has become an incredibly important part of Gilboa’s growth and culture, and this year that is especially true. Everything that we’ve wanted to accomplish has been.” Howie Stanger, 17, First-year Madrich.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Day 4 Blog

This morning kicked off with three birthdays: Shaina Lavine, Coby Parker, and madrich Daniel "Hasaki". The love was felt strongly at the toren. Avodah was swell and the pancake breakfast filling and full of ruach. Zman sheleg/sport (snow time) was bumping with music and snowballs with the entire machaneh smiling in the snowy sunshine!

Why is this night different from other nights? Because tonight we examine and celebrate resistance in Jewish history… Yom Chanukah has gone incredibly well so far. The Chanichim returned from post-lunch chofesh (break) to the “fireside lounge,” finding themselves in the Warsaw Ghetto, circa 1942 on the fifth night of Chanukah. We were greeted by Judenrat officers asking us to concede to ghetto restrictions. We then met members of youth movements, including Dror (of Habonim Dror), who encouraged us to practice our Jewish religion and culture in spite of the risks, because without this action we would be succumbing to the Nazi regime. The chanichim organized and decided to break out and search for “Polish sympathizers” who supplied the ghetto with bread and information from the outside world.

This was followed by a round-robin of youth movement life in the ghetto, a life of active resistance through education and community connections. Mordechai, Frukmka, Tzivia, Chavka, and Antek took us on a journey of their own liberation within the confines of ghetto walls, after which we discussed the connection between Chanukah and rebellion in relation to our experiences of the day.

A special Chanukah dinner and shira have been the beginning of our communal rebellion, our resistance of Jewish oppression, historic and modern. Chanichim have gone through an important and empowering process today, internalizing the power of Judaism and community, the importance of resistance in the face of oppression. As the night continues, there will be another peula reflecting on the day and creating a Tekkes with the theme of the youth movements in mind: ‘The wisdom to see, the courage to want, the power to act.’ And of course, we’ll have a Chanukah messibah to finish off the night! This yom meyuchad has been an unprecedented, ambitious and exciting journey, perfect to ushering in the final day of Machaneh.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Tuesday, December 22, 2009…

What a beautiful boker it’s been! Late last night the snow started drifting down, dusting roofs and leaves, and by kima (wake up) machaneh looked like one big snow globe. The skies have cleared to a bright blue and the sun is shining, however, so the new inches of snow are a welcomed pleasure.

Considering the success of yesterday’s Machaneh-wide Veida peula, tzevet has decided to continue the process today, offering each group ample time to present their proposals and amendments for the Gilboa community. It is incredible to see everyone so engaged in a purely democratic experience.

Tomorrow we launch into a special half-day of Yom Chanukah, focusing on youth movement organizing and liberation in the Warsaw Ghetto. The plans for the day are ambitious and very exciting… that’s just how we roll here at Gilboa!

This afternoon we all took a walk up the hill in “Snoccer” (snow soccer) teams to the snow-covered migrash(field) sport. We spent the next while playing in an Olympic soccer trounament, eventually condensing from ten groups to two for the ultimate face-off. It was awesome and wild, and an especially intense soccer tournament because of the newly fallen snow… many chanichim have said since that “Snoccer” should be a real Olympic sport, it’s tough and brilliantly fun!

Today PISH sessions had a range of focuses revolving around Judaism, overcoming fears, and Zionism; Bonim explored the difference between their own feelings about Israel compared to old and current ideology in and out of Habonim Dror. Good stuff!

Hope you’re all as happy as we are! Get out there and find some snow!

All Camp Discussion
Trying to catch a snow flake
A little early morning stretching
Boker Tov to Fresh Snow
A little Snoccer (Snow Soccer)

YAY!! Sledding :-)
Nothing Better then a little morning Hot Coco

Monday, December 21, 2009

Winter Camp Day 2

Veida Wheel barrel Race!

Fun in the Snow
Ameiliem Looking oh Soooo Cute!
Getting our Groove ON!!!!!!

It’s Day 2 of Machaneh Choref and all is wonderful! The day started with an 8am kima (wake up), and everyone actually made it to the toran (flag) on time, it’s incredible. All the kvutsot had cheers that they made the day before, and sang them loud and proud. We then broke up into avodah (work) groups, encouraging collective responsibility.

Later in the day, we had our first, and very successful, Machaneh-wide peula which mirrored the Habonim Dror North America democratic process(HDNA). In a few days there is an HDNA meeting on the east coast that includes winter seminar and veida, a space for all movement members above 10th grade to participate in making proposals and amendments for our national movement. Your kids were incredibly engaged, creating proposals for Gilboa.

PISH (peula shikvah) is just coming to a close, with Chugim (interest groups) to follow. Our youngest group, Amelim, made communal chocolate balls today, working and learning together, internalizing the importance of making compromises for the greater good. Chotrim madrichim ran an Identity peula, asking their chanichim to build snow wo/men depicting unique traits about themselves which their kvutsah added to, sharing their perceptions of each other. Their peula ended with a Sicha (conversation) focusing on the importance of judging others only after you have spent good time with them.

Our oldest kvutsah, Bogrim, focused on a few aspects of education: disabilities in the education system, theories of learning and liberation through education.

Our theme of ‘Be The Change – Lihiot Hashinui’ is coming from every angle this winter, and we’re so happy to share this time with your amazing kids!

A little Pre-Avodah Fun Camp wide photo!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

It's day one at machaneh Choref (winter camp) and everything is going swimmingly! Although we've had to push things back a bit time wise, the chanichim have met their madrichim (counselors), toured machaneh, and are currently participating in Peula Shikvah, (PISH), in which they're meeting members of their kvutsah(group), reconnecting with old friends, and playing games. Transitioning into machaneh has been packed with immense amounts of ruach and love! We are 68 chanichim strong today, with four chanichim planning to join us tomorrow. Snow is all around us, but the weather during the day was pleasant. As night falls, the cold is ushered in quickly, but with the heaters on a lovely and cozy atmosphere spreads over machaneh. Tonight will be the first machaneh-wide Tochnit Erev (night activity), 'Hagshama Hero,' in which the chanichim will be challenged to collect "hagshama" (actualization) points from different historical activist groups such as Shalom Achshav and the Freedom Riders.
We're all SO excited to be here sharing this time with your incredible kids.
Aleh v'Hagshem!