Monday, August 6, 2012

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Kangaroo Court

Kangaroo Court is a Gilboa tradition that received a revised treatment on Wednesday night. The night opened with the classic procedures: The chanichim took the Madrichim to court for various “transgressions” (example: forgetting to wake up the Bogrot at Kima). Justice was served via whipped cream pies in the face of the convicts. When punishment went too far, however, the night turned into a provocative analysis of America’s Justice system. Machaneh explored the potential for restorative justice to act as a substitute for the prison system.

Silent Night

Machaneh (camp) is usually loud (in a good way) with chanichim singing, playing and shouting cheers at the top of their lungs. But on Tuesday evening machaneh was completely quiet.

The stage was set for this special evening by letting everyone know that although there is a set plan, the success of the evening depends on everyone’s cooperation. The goal was to learn to communicate in new ways other than our voices and words. Chanichim were to go through different challenges, as a group, using only body language, movements and eye contact. They were asked to be patient and to observe their friends.
 The first station was a rope tied to a stick which the group had to cooperate moving in a spiral. The next one - the group stood on chairs where at each new stage, musical chairs style, one chair had to be removed – so that  in the first stages they had to start sharing chairs, and eventually, when the number of chairs was further reduced, they had to hold and support each other while figuring out the next complicated move without uttering a word.

Next station was a conversation without words. Chanichim started by playing a human mirror game, and moved on to have a conversation where they received a key detailing different movements corresponding to different sentences and had a conversation by moving their bodies.
They went on to cross a rope web that was tied across trees. Chanichim had to help everyone get to the other side without touching the web, and then continued into a Human Knot station.

Following that was an art project station that was guided by two prompts – “who are you” and “what are you feeling”. Chanichim had various materials available to them and created side by side.
Everyone came back together and broke the silence by singing a song together. It was a calm, especially cooperative and super fun night, and besides some giggles, all challenges were successfully passed by all groups in complete silence.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Yom Israel

Monday was one of the most anticipated days at camp – Yom Israel – Israel Day.
The day began with enthusiastic American tourist who got everyone excited for a tour of Israel. Chanichim entered the chadar (dining hall) which was decorated as a mini-Israel, with a Kinneret and large posters of Israeli cities and regions. While everyone had a delicious Israeli breakfast, a portal opened and ghosts of past Zionist thinkers stormed in. They were resentful of the shallow perspective of Israel presented by the tourist, and promised to show a more accurate depiction of Israeli history and essence. The ghosts led a tour through different parts of the country, exposing a more complex picture of the society. At each station campers met representatives of different minorities and Zionist thinkers who told them more about their vision.  

Campers went through the following stations:
Negev – The ghost of David Ben Gurion presented chanichim with his vision of the Negev as a test of pioneer vigor and his wish to see the desert blossom. A Bedouin talked about the water resources problem in the region, and highlighted Bedouin culture. Chanichim played “Camel Race” to experience the scarce water resources firsthand.

The next station was held by the lake, our Kinneret for the day. Yigal Alon – commander of the Palmach - talked about the defense needs of the State of Israel, and Rachel the poet expressed her love for the landscape and read one of her poems. The chanichim were then asked to create a model of a defense system (from popsicle sticks…), and they did so while listening to Rachel read more of her poems.

Moving on to the Golan Heights – A.D. Gordon – the Labor Zionist thinker talked about labor and agriculture as a way to connect the individual and the Jewish people to the land. A Druze presented the Druze culture, and both ghosts talked about the strategic location of the Golan Heights. Everyone played “Camouflage” to demonstrate the advantage gained by height.

In Tel Aviv chanichim met Rabin who talked about the peace process and the Baron De Rothschild who shared his story of the investments he made in support of Zionism when he purchased land for the first Jewish settlements in the early 20th century.

Jerusalem was the next station. There they met Golda Meir who talked about the establishment of the state and about Israel’s ties with the United States. They also met an Arab family from East Jerusalem who told them about the difficulties of being a minority in the country. Chanichim wrote their wishes for the country on notes to be put in the Kotel.

Later in the morning the tourists were back and led a tour of their perspective of Israel. This was done in Chugim (interest group) style, where chanichim got to choose the group they wanted to participate in. Chugim included: Israeli Music, Making Pita in the Fire Pit, Israeli Ball Games, Israeli board games (Taki, shesh-besh, Word Games), Spa in the Dead Sea and Krav Maga.

Building Defense Systems by the Kinneret

Camel Race

Israeli Lunch on the Mirpeset

In the afternoon chanichim participated in a pool party which ended upon the ghosts' return. New visitors arrived as well – Habonim’s Tnuat Bogrim (alumni of Habonim who made Aliya). They told the ghosts that they are tackling the problems of modern Israel, and reassured them that there are people taking responsibility in the present and for the future.
This event was followed by a peula – (a group activity followed by a discussion). Each group included a few representatives from each age group and discussed a different matter.

The first group discussed water issues – they had to find creative waits to transfer water from place to place, and later on discussed water conservation, drip irrigation, etc. The second group discussed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and its complexity.
The third group discussed the polarization between orthodox and secular Israelis. They played sharks and minnows and talked about the tendency to see things in black and white and how American Jewry can help find ways to raise awareness to the shades of grey in the middle. There was also a discussion about the alienation from religion that seculars in Israel sometimes feel, as it is considered the domain of the orthodox Jews.

The fourth group discussed Alyia and immigration. Chanichim played“Psychiatrist”, a game in which the group decides on a pattern of behavior which others have to guess by asking questions and observing it. The game helped demonstrate to the group the concept of culture shock and the emotions and difficulties involved in being an outsider. The group talked about the melting pot, the assimilation of Jews who made Aliya from different countries, and discussed the difference between the approach in the fifties – becoming one nation by erasing your past, versus the more modern approach that encourages retaining old identities while acquiring new ones.
Next, representatives from each discussion came back to their age group and ran a summary of the activity and discussion they previously experienced.
Dinner was followed by a game of “Ghost Treasure Hunt”.Chanichim found the ghosts in different parts of camp and received from them tools to build Israel. Each group wrote its vision for the future of Israel and a party ended the night.