The Halfway Point!7/8/11

Dear TY Families and Friends,

At the end of a very exciting week at Tel Yehudah, Shabbat is finally about to arrive. Since last Shabbat chanichim participated in shira (singing), rikud (dancing), ropes course, omanut (arts and crafts), tzofiyut (Israeli scouting), swimming and sports as well as educational activities designed to explore Jewish identity, Israel, community and leadership. Campers also went on hikes and sleepouts in Gimmel (our campsite across the street). 

It was a week of arts, sports, competition, fun and serious discussions of the issues facing us as Jews. On Tuesday night we all watched our Alumim campers perform TY's version of Mamma Mia - "Mamma Ima." It was a joyful performance filled with great acting, singing and dancing. As soon as the hatzaga (play) ended we broke out into our annual Maccabia (color war). All day Wednesday, four teams representing different geographical areas, competed in sports, dancing, cake decorating, cheering, singing, bench painting and so much more. And though it was close, the red team, representing the Southeast, prevailed. Last night we held our annual TY Caucus to determine one of the issues our Hadracha chanichim will lobby Congress on next week when they visit Washington DC. The camp-wide decision was to focus on opposing nuclear proliferation in Iran.


As soon as Shabbat ends we will begin to prepare the chanichim for the trips they will be leaving for on Monday. We will have groups going to Philadelphia, New York City, Washington, D.C. as well as kayaking, biking, and backpacking. Chanichim are excited for the challenges and fun that lie ahead on these adventures.

This past week was an opportunity to make new friends and spend time with old ones, while working together to create a strong and thoughtful Jewish community here at TY.


Well once again, the sun is beginning to set here at Tel Yehudah. And though it is raining here, we are all ready to enjoy the gift of Shabbat. We will gather soon for Kabbalat Shabbat and Shabbat dinner. I look forward to writing to you next Shabbat to tell you even more about the wonderful community and activities at TY. May this Shabbat be peaceful and healthy for you and your family.

שבת שלום (Shabbat Shalom),

David and the TY Team

Hatzagah: The Campers View

By, Yuval Zvi Hadari - Alumim Chug Kochavit (the Hebrew word for the * sign)

Alumim Hatzaga

The Alumim play this year was a very fun experience that bonded the group.  The play we performed was called "Mamma Ima," which was an altered version of "Mamma Mia."  All of Alumim put an immense amount of time and effort in to making the best show and camp memory possible.  This taught us the value of bonding as a group of opinionated individuals.  Every member of Alumim was included in this play as actors, dancers, singers, or set designers.  From the acting, to dancing, to the singing, and even the artwork we were all able to cooperate with one another and find a new respect for each other.  We are one talented group of individuals and together we can make astounding memories that will stay with us throughout our lives.  Every job in this play gave each camper an experience that will help in future actions.  This show demonstrated to the rest of camp our capabilities and proved to them we are as mature as they are.  Performing for the rest of the camp gave us a feeling of accomplishment because our hard work and long hours of preparation were recognized and celebrated.  We had great counselors and directors to guide us throughout the production and performance process, and it wouldn't have been as fun without them.


Making a Difference in the World with the TY Caucus!

By, Jamie Korman - Yachad Chug Gabot (Hebrew word for eyebrows)

  TY Caucus

The Caucus at TY is a way for all of camp to exercise our ability to change the world according to the values of YJ.  At the 2011 Caucus we discussed four current conflicts in the world.  Last night we chose the topic that resonated the most with us, and will write a letter to Congress expressing our concern, and the need to reform policy in the name of the chosen issue.  The four issues consisted of; the freeing of Gilad Shalit, raising awareness of discrimination against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) community, increased opposition to nuclear proliferation in Iran, and highlighting the importance of aid to South Sudan in light of their declaration of independence.


The process by which we determined the most relevant issue was almost as informative as the material we discussed.  At the beginning of the caucus we sat by bunk in the Chadar Ochel (dining hall), and began to discuss the four issues.  We received fact sheets detailing the history and key problems surrounding each topic.  Later in the Caucus we had a chance to stand in front of all of Yachad and communicate our personal beliefs.  We were given breaks to continue debate informally.  We concluded the night by casting our vote in support of the issued we wanted Hadracha to advocate for while in Washington, D.C. before heading to bed.


It goes without saying that every issue was serious and a worthwhile cause despite the fact that nuclear Iran was the most supported issue among Yachad campers.  The caucus was an enlightening experience I felt privileged to be a part of.

Ropes Course: Building Self-Confidence (and Burning Calories)

By, Isaac Levine - Yachad Chug Peot (the Hebrew word for sideburns)


Ropes Course (Ariel Freed)

This week our chug went to the ropes course, and completed a variety of challenges - as a group and as individuals.  The ropes course consists of two areas; low ropes and high ropes.  At low ropes, we participated in a series of physical challenges that can only be completed with team work.  These challenges allowed us to bond, and work as a team.  On the other hand, high ropes course pushed us to the limit to reach the top of the vertical playground or the end of the zip line.  My favorite activity at ropes is the hardest rock climbing wall because it is physically and mentally challenging- it's also a great work out!  I also believe that ropes course is a good activity to improve self-confidence, and it teaches us a valuable lesson on perseverance and never giving up.

Dance TY Away

By, Merav David - Yachad Chug Safam (the Hebrew word for mustache) 


Rikud - 1st Session 2011 


One of the most unique parts of camp TY is rikud.  There are rikud sessions throughout Shabbat with a final session on Saturday night after havdalah.  As an entire camp, we gather after Saturday lunch and mix in the middle of the chadar.  Some Hadracha campers and counselors start leading us in song whether it be a funny YJ twist on the song "Singing in the Rain," or a tune about two seal lovers who get split when an iceberg they share breaks apart.  The entire week we are somewhat separated between junior camps and regions, shichvot and chugim.  We aren't fully aware of these separations until Shabbat starts when we come together as an entire camp.  Shabbat is what we look forward to all week.


TY chanichim especially can't wait for rikud to start on Saturday night.  After shira shketa (silent singing that marks the end of Shabbat) and havdalah, all camp breaks loose.  The town of Barryville can't possibly sleep due to the insane unleashing of energy and simcha.  It is truly an amazing sight and experience to see all of camp dance the same dances our parents danced when they went to TY, and break out of our shells and let the music hit us with sudden exhilaration. 


We also have a new tradition this year to shake up camp's end of Shabbat tradition of rikud and shira.  It's called Shabbat Night Unplugged.  I remember going to a YJ event during the year -it just so happened that everyone there had attended a YJ camp before- and as an icebreaker we went around the circle saying our names and what we were most excited for this summer at TY.  A good 3/4 of the people without hesitation stated it to be rikud.  Rikud at camp isn't just dancing: it is something inexplicably wonderful.  You have to be there to feel the energy and unity in the air, to see the smiles, and to hear the belting out of the words that we all know.  It's the strongest connection between every tsevet member, every camper, and even the dogs that barks along in contribution to the phenomenon.

Camping in Machaneh Gimmel - Yup, There's a Gimmel

By, Jake Robinson - Yachad Chug Risim (the Hebrew word for eyelashes)  

Hi!  I'm Jake from Chug Risim.  This past Tuesday, Chug Risim spent the night in Machaneh Gimmel.  Machaneh Gimmel is a beautiful untouched piece of land that Tel Yehudah owns, only a short hike away from Machaneh Aleph where Yachad lives.  Once we arrived, chanichim (campers) were divided into groups.  The groups collected firewood, set up the tents, and prepared a delicious dinner of chicken, vegetarian cutlets, rice, and vegetables.  We were encouraged to help out the group in more than one way.  

Through teamwork activities, stories, and songs, we left Gimmel with a new found sense of community as the shichvah Yachad, and more specifically as our chug.  For some, the lack of a bathroom was a big stress, and for others it was no big deal!  However, no matter one's comfort level with camping or nature, and no matter how little sleep one got, the experience was a great "down to earth" activity that enabled us to interact in an isolated place without the distractions of camp life in Aleph.

Our Last Year and Mark on Camp

By, Bunk 6B - Hadracha Chug Har Tal (if there was Mountain Dew in Israel, this is what it would be named)
What is leadership?  It is our duty as members of the Hadracha shichva (age group) to attempt to answer this timeless question.  So far this session, Hadracha has engaged in a multitude of peulot, or activities, designed to enrich and develop our leadership potential. Our fantastic bunk of 6B has decided to leave our final mark on camp, and hope to inspire our fellow campers to follow in our footsteps.


The sport of gaga was one of our favorite activities to participate in during our time at junior camp.  Upon arriving at TY we came to the unfortunate realization that the gaga pit was derelict and neglected.  We were disappointed that we were not able to continue on with our gaga skills.  In response we took the initiative, and as a bunk, decided to use our Hadracha leadership skills to build a new, improved and amazing gaga pit, that will hopefully stand the test of time and allow future generations of campers to enjoy the great game of gaga.


Last night our bunk showed great teamwork when we demolished the old gaga pit.  "It was so much fun", Adam Pressel, a 6B camper, said, "to use the big 8lb sledge hammer to break the wood planks.  It really makes you appreciate good hard work."  As a bunk, we shoveled, picked, smashed, and got incredibly muddy as we worked into the wee hours of the morning.  Finally the last challenge was the final race to get the first shower!


The Hadracha Campers of 6B, Ethan Loftspring, Adam Pressel, Sam Jennings, Jonathan Cohen, Remington Leibow, Steven Engel, David Hoffman, Gabe Rosenberg, Adam Karnett, Will Blumrosen, and Jonathan Dror, would like to thank Lapid Levi for his unwavering support to see our project through and through.  We'd also like to thank our two amazing counselors, Eric Alterman and Daniel Levin, for inspiring us to go the extra mile.  We wish everyone a restful weekend and a Shabbat Shalom!

Gearing up to Take on the Hill!
By, Leah Gluck - Hadracha Chug Menakah Dakah (a loose translation to Hebrew for Minute Maid)
  Tikun Groups

This week in Hadracha, we began preparing for our trip to Washington D.C.  The Human Rights tikun group is tackling current issues of human rights abuse.  The first issue we're tackling is human trafficking.  Trafficking includes forced prostitution, slavery and debt bondage.  The human trafficking group began the week by learning about these issues, and by setting aims and goals to achieve during the trip.  One half of the group has been working on issues relating to Sudan, Kuwait, Haiti and the U.S., whilst the other half has been working on their speeches and presentations on child labor, child soldiers and slavery.


We are also working on freedom of expression, mainly focused on freedom of the press.  In China especially, people often do not have sufficient education to advocate for freedom.  The group has been researching and educating one another on the issues that are being advocated for by other tikun groups in Washington.  Our final preparatory sessions will focus on finalizing our speeches and presentations, and preparing to meet with Amnesty International before going up to Capitol Hill.  The entire group is really looking forward to the trip and it's great that Hadracha gets the chance to advocate on behalf of oppressed groups to the leaders of our country.


By, Federico "Twigy" Slezynger and Aaron Weintraub - Hadracha Chug Sheva L'Mala
(7Up in Hebrew)
  Maccabia Collage - 1st Session 2011


Twigy: I mean this in the least pretentious way, but I have always been a leader.   But I have never been able to put my skills to the test until this Maccabia.  I was able to lead and control the uncontrollable Southeast Yachad group - something no ordinary man can accomplish.  I even led them to victory, no doubt a memory I will remember forever!


Aaron:  I was in charge of the proud TOL/EPA/NE (Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Eastern Pennsylvania and New England) Green Team...  We lost.  I can't even begin to say how disappointed I was as the captains all huddled up for the last time and the judges told us the Red Sneetches had beaten us.  Some captains cried, but we all squeezed each other in a frenzy of emotion.  Just a couple of days later I look back on Maccabia and recognize what a privilege it was to be a captain.  It has been a dream of mine since a very young age to lead a Maccabia team.  Hearing who won was only two minutes at the end of the day.  I cannot and will not allow such a small amount of time to override the 24 hours of leadership and glory I was given to bask in.

Power: Don't Let it go to your Head!

By, Rachel Brody & Julia Holtzman - Hadracha Chug Rofeh Pilpel (Dr. Pepper in Hebrew)


This week in Hadracha, Chug Rofe Peelpel (Dr. Pepper) learned about the responsibilities of a leader in our "Star Power" peulah. In this activity, each chanich/a (camper) recieved random chips out of five different colors. Each color was assigned a different point value. In each round we traded chips with each other to attain the highest amount of points. At the end of the round we were divided into "classes" by the number of points we had collected. By the last round, there was a huge gap between the "rich" and the "poor," and the wealthy class was allowed to impose rules for trading that worked in their favor.


The activity demonstrated the corruption that power can enable when there is no moderation enforced, and showed the differences between a good leader and a bad leader. The ruling class which taxed their poorer counterparts heavily had angry low and middle class citizens. While the more moderate wealthy class had happier middle & low class citizens. 


This peulah taught Hadracha a lot about being responsible with leadership, as well as learning to be conscious of the people you are responsible for.




The Alumim hatzaga (play), more overnights in Machane Gimmel, Maccabia (color war), the TY Caucus, July 4th festivities and many other fun activities!

1st week collage
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2009 Biking into camp

It's trip week at Camp TY! All of our chanichim will be departing from camp on Monday morning to various locations throughout the Northeast for a fun and exciting week out of camp!


All of Alumim will go on a two-night tiyul (trip) full of hiking and camping out in High Point State Park and Stokes National Forest in NJ followed by a fun afternoon of rafting on the mighty Delaware, and finish off their week with a mixture of tourism and exploration of Jewish and American history and identity in sunny Philadelphia!


Our Yachad chanichim will be split up into four different trips that last all week. We can't wait until next Thursday to hear everyone share great stories about kayaking, backpacking, biking, and visiting diverse communities and volunteering around the Greater New York area!


Hadracha will be spending three fun-filled and educational days in our nations capital, Washington, DC, where they will both get to see the sites AND lobby Congressional leaders on important issues chosen by the chanichim themselves, such as Israel advocacy, environmental protection,  preventing domestic violence, opposing Iran's nuclear program, LGBTQ rights, and and even more.

Stay tuned for more news and pictures from all of the trips in next week's edition of BaMachane!!!




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