Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Hobbitka'ah and Yom Meyuhad

The last full day of winter camp was one of explorations and voyages. The Hebrew Word of the Day was Harpatka’a – Adventure, and the morning started with Gandalf the Grey informing Bilbo Baggins and the chanichim (campers) that their next adventure entails discovering the secret of the youth movement. Bilbo was reluctant to leave, and only after hearing from the chanichim that they would join his journey, he was convinced. And so started the Hobbitka’ah.

Chanichim were taken by different Hobbit characters to explore and uncover the secret.   Gandalf the Grey believed the secret was a connection to Israel. He took the groups on the backs of eagles for a visit.   Lord Elrond perceived the secret lies in the movement’s semel (symbol), and took the groups on an ice-breaking mission to expose long-buried symbols.  Gollum thought it was the precious pillars, and played a riddle game where campers uncovered all five of them.  Eventually, all the characters returned, and the chanichim informed them that it was actually kvutsa - the strength that comes from community working together - that made Gilboa the magical place it is.

The afternoon brought another camp-wide activity. Yom Meyuhad – Special Day- focused the chanichim’s attention on Jewish involvement in the civil rights movement. During the afternoon they got to meet and exchange ideas with MLK and Rabbi Heschel, and participated in various activities to illustrate and bring to life that period in history.

Among the thinkers that campers participated in activities with were Betty Freidan, Rabbi Heschel, who played blob tag with campers to emphasize the power of solidarity, and Howard Zinn – a historian with whom madrichim (counselors) and chanichim acted out stories from history.

Later, Rabbi Heschel and MLK encouraged chanichim to go for a scavenger hunt of Jewish values. In and around the site, in the trees and behind cabins they encountered different values, and had to guess (via a game of “twenty questions”) what these values were.

Among the hidden values were such notable quotes as “If I’m not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? And, if not now, when?" which represented Allyship. "We are the light unto the nations" represented Responsibility.  "You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” – represented Empathy.

A short sicha (discussion) about the quotes followed, where we figured out why as Jews we were to uphold to these values and work towards tikkun olam.

In the evening, madrichim put on a new version of the “Conscience Play” – a series of scenes that portrayed issues our society faces (such as racism, gun control, and the rising costs of education).
Machaneh then transitioned into musicale and final messibah (party) and the evening ended with Israeli dancing, short performances of poetry, song and dance, and an ice-cream party. Winter Camp 2012 was packed with chinuch (education), fun in the snow and friendship. See you at Summer 2013!