Schechter Visits Port Townsend, CSS World Cup, Tisha B’Av, Rock N’ Roll Services… Gimmel is in full swing!

By admin
July 29, 2015

I feel like a broken record talking about how amazing each week is at camp… But we really had an amazing week here at Schechter. Take a look back at some of my favorite moments from the first week of Gimmel session.

Our volunteer (Gesher) staff were deservedly rewarded for their excellent work in the Aleph and Bet sessions with a trip to the Olympic Peninsula! They started their weeklong vacation with a ferry ride over to Whidbey Island to visit the former home of CSS at Ft. Casey. They toured the old campgrounds and posed to recreate iconic pictures from Schechter’s past. Next, our Gesher counselors held a kosher BBQ and shira (song) session for religious school kids from Bet Shira synagogue in Port Townsend. Everyone had a great time!

Former Sports Supervisor Zac Dykan is visiting this week to run the Schechter World Cup Tournament! Soccer is more popular than ever this summer, following the success of the US women’s team’s victory at the actual World Cup. Campers chose the countries they wished to represent in the CSS World Cup and right now the US, Israel, Germany, Brazil, Djibouti and Guam are battling it out on the soccer field.

Tisha B’Av (the 9th day in the Jewish month of Av) is always an important day at camp. In fact, in an interview conducted last summer, CSS founder Rabbi Stampfer called Tisha B’Av one his favorite holidays.

Tisha B’Av is a troubling day in Jewish history. It’s the day the first and second Temples were destroyed. The Jewish revolt against the Romans in 133 came to a bloody end on 9th of Av. The expulsions from England in 1290 and Spain in 1492 both occurred on (you guessed it) the 9th of Av as well. Individually, each event tells a story about Jewish persecution and hardship. But, collectively, these events tell a story of perseverance and triumph unrivaled in human history. Therein lies the magic of Tisha B’Av. It’s one part a reflection on a sorrowful past, and one part a celebration of Jewish peoplehood.

This summer we are thrilled to have received a generous grant from the Samis foundation to bolster the music program at camp. The grant will go towards an official Schechter shiron (songbook), a new CD of songs we sing at camp, and a curriculum for future song-leaders. As a result, the music program is thriving at camp this summer. We have already introduced many new songs and created a new rock n’ roll style musical service.

Today is Yom Tevanut (Art and Nature Day). Art and Nature are important elements in our spiritual life at Schechter. As I type this I can see campers making cookies in pizza box solar ovens, picking fruit in the Schechter garden and working on a camp-wide mandala that will become a permanent addition to camp.

I’ve said it a million times before, and I’ll say it another million times I’m sure, but we’re having an amazing week at camp! 

Josh Niehaus