Dear CW Families,
This week started with us welcoming our Rishon campers to the Home of Happiness and each day since their arrival has truly has been filled with happiness! The week was all about the adventures. Both Ohalim girls and Ohalim boys had attempts at outdoor overnights. Although the rain didn’t allow them to spend a night under the stars, they did enjoy special outdoor programming before moving to indoor locations for slumber parties (but isn’t all of camp just one big slumber party!?). And on Monday camp was nice and peaceful with only Chalutzim and Ohalim in traditional programming! 8th grade Noar left for their outdoor adventure overnight at Kent State University. A true highlight was when they all got to spend time with their former Ohalim supervisor, Sydney Ungar, who now works full time for Hillel at KSU. Then 9th grade took to the CW beach for extra time on the jet skis and a cookout dinner. And at the same time Solel was on their way to New York for an overnight trip to Buffalo and Niagara Falls.
By the time the middle of the week rolled around, we were all in for a surprise treat when Shrek Maccabiah broke after dinner Wednesday night. After some crazy action on the stage where we learned that Shrek, Donkey, and Fiona were all taken by evil Prince Charming, we moved to Shrek’s house (the Ohalim Moadon). There we met the Knights of Far Far Away (judges) who called upon the red team (Dragon), green team (Gingy), blue team (Fairy Godmother), white team (Three Little Pigs) and tie-dye team (Pinocchio) to help get them back! As a camp director, one of my favorite parts of Maccabiah is seeing how it brings all of camp together. Younger campers spend time with our teen campers who help guide them through Maccabiah. It truly shows how all of camp comes together to work as one big kehillah (community). And there was plenty of bonding and unity across all villages in camp. However, after some fierce competition in sports, ruach, and creativity we had one team that shone above the rest. The tie-dye Pinocchio team was awarded with the honor of saving Shrek, Donkey, and Fiona and was announced as the winner before running to the pool for the traditional end-of-Maccabiah pool jump!
We were all a little tired after Maccabiah and were thankful to have a sleep-in and late wake up this morning before we head into our final Shabbat of the summer. For the last Shabbat of the session, Chalutzim and Solel are focusing on how being created in God’s image influences the way we interact with the world. Chalutzim began their Shabbat preparation by each being given a piece to a puzzle. They had to mingle around and try to find people whose pieces fit with theirs. Since there were more pieces than people there was no way they were going to be able to finish the puzzle.
Rabbi Shana then told them about Rabbi Issac Luria and his story of creation. Before God created the world the entire universe was filled with a holy presence. God took a breath to draw back and make room for the world. From that first breath, darkness was created. And when God said, “Let there be light,” lightness was created filling vessels with holy light. God sent those vessels to the world, and if they had each arrived whole, the world would have been perfect. But the holy light was too powerful to be contained, and the vessels split open sending sparks flying everywhere. Some of God’s holy light became trapped inside the shards of the vessels. It is our job to release and gather the sparks. When enough sparks have been gathered, tikkun olam, repair of the world will be complete.
The campers related the puzzle pieces to being created b’tzelem Elohim. Like the pieces, each one of us is unique, yet we create community when we figure out how we fit together. They also talked about how gathering the sparks of light was like trying to put the puzzle together. We don’t know where all the pieces are. We don’t have the whole picture. It is hard to put it all together, and we can’t do all the work alone. Rabbi Shana then asked, “How do we gather sparks?” and the campers learned it is by doing mitzvot (good deeds), giving tzedakah (charity) and through acts of gemillut chasadim (loving kindness). When we interact with the world in this way, we live up to our responsibility of being created b’tzelem Elohim.
As we prepare for Shabbat this afternoon we’re so excited to spend time with our teens who just returned from their four week journey in Israel! Camp will finally be complete as one big family as we have all of our campers from Rishon to ILS to SITs back at the Home of Happiness! And, this Shabbat will be filled with the amazing leadership of Chalutzim and Solel but it will also be filled with stories of Israel.
This week during bedtime the campers took over and made up their own bedtime story! We also had a lot of fun during our teva cabin activity.
C2 played ultimate football this week. It was a great way to bond as a cabin; everyone participated in this new activity!
Before maccabiah broke, our whole cabin celebrated our tie-dyes! Everyone dressed up in their new tie-dye t-shirts for a special day. We also really enjoyed Shabbat prep with Rabbi Shana – all of our campers enjoyed practicing skits and learning songs for Friday night!
It feels like our campers have been here for weeks already! A highlight so far was the Jet Ski cabin activity. Everyone got to take a ride at the CW Lake!
On Tuesday this week, C5 had a spa day during Nikayon (rest hour). It was a great way to relax and bond as a cabin. We also loved our time jet skiing, everyone participated and cheered each other on!
A special moment this week was when our cabin got to stay out after evening program and enjoyed ice cream sundaes (blizzards) as well as making beaded bracelets to connect us all as one group!
C7 enjoyed a special picnic outside of the dining hall for a kindness lunch complete with posters and quotes about compassion! And during Israeli Culture, the girls traveled to another planet where they learned about communication barriers through a silly, yet meaningful activity.
C8 has become a family! Everyone gets along and we are already sad to go into our last Shabbat of the summer. This week we had delicious chipwiches and dressed up as “Bros” for dinner.
Our campers loved our pool party; they enjoyed hanging out and playing games in the water. They also loved basketball and tennis, many of their favorite activities!
All the boys of Ohalim bonded at our overnight down on the Noar rec field. Although we had to move inside because of the weather, it was a special and fun slumber party! We’re sad we only have a few days left together. O-2, Oh Yeah!
This week we had a surprise tea party at lunch where we spoke in British accents, ate cake, and had lots of fun! It was truly the best party ever! We also had a blast in teva when we walked across the nightline to find mystery items and played games in camouflage!
On Monday we had an “unbirthday party”. We ate cake at lunch, and then went to the Giant Swing during rest hour! Everyone had a great time swinging and cheering on their friends.
A special moment this week was during the girls overnight. We got to hang out as a cabin and as a village. They especially enjoyed spending time around the campfire and making s’mores! We also had tons of fun at horseback riding where we groomed the horses by washing and braiding their hair.
All of the girls have been getting into the spirit here at camp. We are always up on our benches cheering, singing, or dancing! A highlight this week was making our cabin plaque. All the girls worked together to incorporate everyone’s ideas while sharing their creativity.
This week we pranked the boys shower house with our “sister cabin” of O10. It was a great time and the boys were super surprised. We also participated in OGAVA (Ohalim girls are very awesome) Night. We made facemasks and had a dance party before ending with a meaningful campfire.
A highlight activity for us this week was jet skiing at the lake. It was so awesome to be able to chill and do something fun as a cabin. Everyone was smiling the entire time! We are so sad that camp is almost over but excited for all the opportunities left coming up.
Highlights for N1 this week include creating a special space in the cabin. They now have multicolored lights hanging and have created a culture of hanging out and listening to “chill music”.
We had a special moment this week when the entire bunk went down to the O-Rec at night to play a game of Frisbee followed by stargazing! We also really enjoyed our overnight trip where we had the opportunity to spend time with friends from other cabins.
This week we had a special conversation in the cabin. We each shared stories from our first few days at camp and then went on to say the moment we realized that there was something special about Camp Wise. Our cabin is obsessed with winning Nikayon (cabin clean up). The boys actually became upset when our score was 23/22 because we normally score 24/22.
The N4 girls had a blast at their Leap of Faith cabin activity! Everyone was so supportive of each other. We also loved our trip away from camp and bonding on our overnight.
A special moment was during 9th grade lake day. We all had an absolute blast splashing around the lake and going tubing! N5’s one true love is definitely the lake! We also had a special late night activity this week complete with cheese fries and fun note writing.
This week we went stargazing as a cabin. We bonded through seeing a shooting star and singing silly songs. We have one special family in N6. We also loved our vertical playground activity where we cheered each other on!
We loved our Kent State overnight trip. We all tried and participated in the activities offered and the trip allowed us to get closer as a cabin and as a village. The girls are really good about positively supporting each other to go out of their comfort zone.
This week N8 had a chipwich party to celebrate another great week at camp! We were all a little bummed when the rain got in the way of our high ropes activity but made the best of it by dancing in the rain!
We can’t believe our last week is here already! Solel had the opportunity to venture out of camp again on Monday; we spent the day at Six Flags amusement park in Darien Lake near Buffalo, New York. Then, on Tuesday, we bussed over to the border to see the unforgettable Niagara Falls from the up-close view of the Maid of the Mist tour boat! We finished the day spending a few hours at our favorite indoor water park, Splash Lagoon. We can’t believe that it’s already our turn to lead Solel Shabbat. The last few weeks have been unbelievable. Solel has truly come together to become a family and we are so sad that it’s all coming to an end. Solel 2019 has been one for the books!
After arriving in Netanya and spending a beautiful and relaxing night watching the sunset, we spent our morning at the Yitzhak Rabin Center. There, we learned about Yitzhak Rabin, a past prime minister of Israel who is honored for his political advances and unfortunate assassination. Then, we spent time at Save a Child’s Heart, an amazing organization that provides heart surgery for children suffering from heart disease in developing countries that don’t have access to adequate medical care. There we learned about what they do, and spent time playing with the kids. It was truly a rewarding experience to see children who are having a tough time smile and have fun playing games. Next, we spent time exploring Jaffa and enjoying lunch. Later we got to hear from an Israeli Arab striving to make a change on the Israeli Arab conflict. He told us his life story and why he wanted to do what he does. He started with a group so he could get a sense on why everyone can’t just be friends. This lead into explaining the purpose of having an Israeli Arab co-taught kindergarten which allows the young children from the area to learn together and not grow up with hate in their hearts. We also shared a meaningful experience visiting the exhibit called Invitation to Silence, which provided us with a unique opportunity to understand the lives of the deaf and hearing impaired. We entered the exhibit and were directed to put on noise cancelling headphones and were told we could only communicate through hand gestures and facial expressions. We traveled through the different stages of the exhibit which each encompassed a different part of the body that could be used to communicate. Each section allowed us to develop a better understanding of how deaf people communicate and how effective hand gestures and facial expressions actually are for them. At the end, our guide, Etna, who has been deaf since birth, shared with us her story of living in a completely deaf family, but a hearing world and the challenges as well as successes she experienced as a result. Through a Sign Language interpreter, we asked questions ranging from how she communicates with hearing people on a daily basis, to what the deaf community in Israel is like and how she would improve accessibility for the deaf. Furthermore, we discussed the stigmas and discrimination that deaf people are subject to everyday in their jobs, education, and elsewhere. We gained a greater insight to a largely underserved population in our world and everyone left feeling like they learned a new perspective. Then, after some time relaxing, we went to the middle of Tel Aviv and spent the night discovering Rothschild Avenue and all it has to offer. More of our time spent in Tel Aviv has included exploring the Carmel Market. We loved comparing it to the Machane Yehuda Shuk in Jerusalem! We have thoroughly enjoyed our time as well lounging on the beach. While much of our time was spent relaxing, we also were able to learn a bit and surf the waves! We enjoyed every last experience and sip of iced coffee we could before we headed to the airport on Thursday night. We are so grateful for all of the experiences we have had and are so sad to leave, but can’t wait to return to camp for Solel Shabbat!