Monthly Archives: מנחם אב / אלול תשסד - August 2004
GRAND TRIP TO SIX FLAGS GREAT ADVENTURE!
The Grand Trip took place on Wednesday, to Six Flags Great Adventure, in New Jersey. Reveille was 5:30 AM, followed by Shachris and breakfast. At 8:00 the coach busses left camp. We arrived at the park at 12:00, and had a quick lunch outside the park. After lunch everybody entered the park, to have the greatest time of their lives! For those who wanted, one of our busses went on the safari located near the park.
Everyone enjoyed the rides and other attractions available there, until the power went out at 2:30 (camp time). The entire park, as well as the surrounding region was out of power for an hour. Boruch Hashem, none of our campers were stuck on any rides while the power went out. We gathered at a central location to daven Mincha. After Mincha, the entire camp went to watch a sea lion and dolphin show. After the interesting and informative show, we ate snacks and went back to the rides, as the power had been turned on. At 6:30 we met outside the park to eat supper after which we reentered the park for a final two hours of fun before closing. At 9:00 we set off, back to camp. Maariv was davened on the busses. We arrived in camp at 12:15, fifteen minutes ahead of schedule.
This past Monday was bunk war for bunks Tes-Zayin through Chof-Aleph. Monday afternoon, one camper reportedly hit another camper in the pool. Lifeguard Abba Gurevitch gave a loud and lengthy speech about the importance of treating our friends with respect. “You’ve already been in camp for seven weeks, and you don’t know that you can’t lift a hand towards another camper? If you can’t behave yourselves there is going to be BUNK WAR!” Immediately all the staff members jumped into the pool, to join in the excitement. Everybody exited the pool, and the teams were split up. The two teams are Shliach and Chosid. For the team of Shliach: the general is Mendel Sasunkin, the Lieutenant is Moshe Deitch and the captain is Chaim Lisbon. For the team of Chosid, the general is Mendel Lifshits, the lieutenant is Eliyahu Raskin and the captain is Shneur Gansburg. Counselors Ruvein Gitter, Yosef Lewis and Levi Schapiro were judges. The other counselors were “advisors” to both of the teams. The plays, song and scavengers are solely the children’s responsibility.
After the teams were split, there was “team time.” The campers divided up the responsibilities among themselves, and then went to learning class as usual. After supper each team put on two scavengers. Tuesday morning each team presented their theme speech. Following lunch there was team time, to learn the theme song. The songs were presented to the judges during rest period.
At 7:15 Team Chosid put on their play. The story went as follows: An American Patriot tries to steal some documents from the British to help the Americans win the war. He is caught and imprisoned. He escapes, and tries again, this time succeeding. He demonstrated how a Chosid must never give up, and keeps on trying until he succeeds.
Team Shliach presented their play next. During World War Two, a young Jew flees to Russia. In Russia, he is enamored with communism and discards his Jewish identity and adopts communism as his personal creed. His communist education, as well as the memory of the Nazis killing his father in front of his eyes, makes him very bitter towards Judaism. After the fall of communism, a Chabad shliach meets him in Russia. The shliach reminds him of his old jewish life, causing him much anguish. He refuses to speak to the shliach, and even threatens to kill him. The shliach, thinking his end is near, cries out Sh’ma Yisroel. Hearing Sh’ma Yisroel reminds him of his father’s Sh’ma Yisroel and reawakens his Jewish spark. He decides to return to Judaism.
This year at Gan Yisroel Parksville N.Y. Mishnayos Baal Peh is rocking the house! The average daily attendance at cocoa club exceeds one hundred. The season and alltiem record was set on visiting day of the first session, when 219 campers k”ah showed up to cocoa club.
In addition, Mishnayos Baal Peh Director Moshe Frank keeps coming up with innovative ideas to make M.B.P. more enticing. Periodically pictures of the rebbe are given to all the campers that come to cocoa club. Every week bicycles are raffled off. Campers can earn tickets by coming to cocoa club or learning mishnayos baal peh on Shabbos.
Recently the new “Fresh Air Miles Program” was launched. The program is based on effort to include all campers. A camper can earn fresh “Air Miles” by coming to cocoa club or even doubling his miles by bringing his entire bunk. Campers can reach various levels of membership based on how many Air Miles they accumulated. Among the benefits of being a member are: automatic entry to all raffles, Rebbe pictures, an occasional barbecue, the privilege to an express line to buy nosh or get tested, get whipped cream on their cocoa and many more benefits.
The term “Fresh Air” alludes to the taharas havir that is accomplished when reviewing mishnayos baal peh.
This summer is also the first year that there is an M.B.P. program on Shabbos morning. The program is called “Chassidus Faren Davenen”. Every shabbos morning over one hundred campers gather in the soccer field to hear a sicha of the Rebbe and a story from M.B.P. Director Moshe Frank. It is interesting to note that this program started because campers were complaining that there was no cocoa club on Shabbos! All in all this summer has truly been exceptional for mishnayos baal peh, and will IYH continue until the last day! .
FOR SALE 1979 Diesel International DT 466 18 foot truck. $2900
After being in service since 1983, and driven by many tmimim whom now have their own children at camp this year. The camp has replaced this fine truck with a larger capacity. The truck has under 90,000 miles and is in fine working condition. New brakes and tires, great for city or local use. GVW is 17,999 lbs and is considered non CDL. Steering wheel needs an adjustment, other than that it is a fine truck, and we would like to find it a new home.
For more information, please contact Yossie Futerfas at 845-292-9307
Shortly before 11:00am (10:00am camp time) on Tuesday morning the loud noise of a helicopter’s rotors were heard over the sprawling grounds of Camp Gan Yisroel, NY. The noise and sight of the large helicopter hovering over camp, startled campers and staff alike and even roused some from their slumber.
Within moments it was apparent that the helicopter was going to land on the hill and a crowd rushed up to catch the scene.
Moments after landing on the baseball field, the surprise was over as CGI’s Executive Director Rabbi Avrohom Shemtov and Director Rabbi Yossie Futerfas emerged from the helicopter.
The helicopter, owned by billionaire and Baal Tzedaka extraordinaire Ronald O. “Ari” Perelman, was making a “practice run” for an expected visit later this week by none other than Perelman himself.
When Perelman visited last summer, his first visit ever to the camp, he told the campers that “now that I know the way” to camp “I will see you more often.”
Photo by: Shmais.com
Tonight’s night activity was Judgment Night! If any camper had any complaint against a staff member, this was his chance to have his day in court! Night Activity Director Dovid Taub presided as judge. Before any witness could testify, he needed to swear with the official Night Activity 5764 Oath that goes as follows: Shehe sheha shehackoy sockee bomerocky tooty fruity firecrackey tooty tooty tow. We’re gonna bring Moshiach, nad we’re gonna bring him now. Complaints varied from campers not being able to do their jobs on Topsy-Turvy Day, counselors acting bossy to bunks other than theirs’. The most interesting complaint was brought by Camper Shaya Katz against his learning teacher, Choni Kazen. Reportedly, the maintenance workers had laughed at him when they saw him punished. According to his lawyers, Shaya has been afflicted by mental retardation since the traumatic incident. Although Choni’s lawyers claimed the mental retardation was a pre-existing condition, the court still found Choni guilty. He was sentenced to a twenty second timeout, while the whole camp laghed at him.
Today Rabbi Maimon Elbaz came to camp to put on his special slide show. The show focused on the seven mitzvos which the chachomim said will bring Moshiach closer, namely tefilah, emunah, tzedakah, ahavas yisroel, shabbos, torah and teshuvah. After the slide show, he played a quiz game, based on the information presented in slide show. Rabbi Elbaz’s establishment, The Torah Children’s Station is based in Flatbush, but he travels around to perform for children everywhere.
Monday was topsy-turvy day! For one day, the campers replace the staff at their jobs. Yesterday, papers were given out to all the campers, with a list of available jobs, and spaces for signatures. In order to run, the candidate has to get signatures from fifty staff members, and fifty campers. Last night, each camper was given a ballot, with the names of all the candidates.
This morning, a list of the winners went up. The results were as follows.
Head counselors: Sruly Lipsyzc, Mendy Gopin and Shmuli Lisbon
Learning directors: Sholom Ber Wolberg, M. Neuwirth and M. Lerman.
General manager: S. Krinsky, Y. Sabol
Office manager: Benjy Pearson
Head lifeguard: Eli Hassan
Truck driver: Z. Brook
E.M.T.: Yossi Leshes
O.D.: S. Borisute
Shmais.com: M. Tenenbaum and Isaac Suffrin.
Van driver: Mendel Sherman
Head waiter: Yisroel New
Extracurricular activity director: Yossi Hershkop
Night activity director: Y. Katz
Program director: Mendel Giro
Canteen manager: Yankel Keevman
Mashgiach: Yitzchok Ostronsky
B.M.D. Head: Levi Sharfstein
Official copy button pusher: Shmuly Karjanski:
T+T incorporated: Shmulie Minkowitz and Mendel Seldowitz
Camp mother: Dovid Grossman
MBP director: Menachem Frank
Game room manager: Nachi Cohen
Executive director: Yankee Pearson
Computer room manager: W. Eilenberg
In addition, each counselor chose a camper in his bunk to be the counselor, and each learning teacher chose one student to teach the class for ten minutes.
TEMPORARY MBP DIRECTOR KEEPS UP THE GREAT ATTENDANCE
Topsy-Turvy Day MBP Director Menachm Frank, following in his brother’s footsteps had 123 campers come to Cocoa Club this morning. If every member of a bunk came, then that bunk is entered into a raffle for stainless steel insulated mugs for the entire bunk
TALENT NIGHT AT CGI
Tonight’s night activity was Talent Night! Topsy-Turvy Day Night Activity Director, Shaya Katz, did “an excellent job” according to N.A.D. Dovid Taub. Many campers displayed their talents on stage. Learning Teacher Yitzi Kleinman and his brother, Waiter Mashpia Shlomie Kleinman, put on an exciting juggling show. At one point, Shaya Katz showed his aptitude as a future night activity director when he poured water on a row of performers doing headstands simultaneously!
Last Motzai Shabbos the All-star Game took place. The best players of the camp played a game of hockey against each other in the Shul. The teams were: Krementchug, coached by Counselors Boruch Shneur Krinsky and Chaim Schneider, and Dnepetrovsk, coached by Counselors Leibel Kahanav and Hershel Spalter. Administrative Assistant Avremi Margolis, Computer Room Manager Chaim Litvin and Head Waiter Isser New refereed the game. Every player wore a camp T-shirt with his name and number on the back. Musical entertainment was provided throughout the game by Counselor Mendy Lowenthal on the guitar, MBP Director Moshe Frank on the Saxophone, Mendel Baras on the keyboard and Canteen Staff Zevi New on the bongo. The game ended in favor of Krementchug, five to two.
Two weeks ago, as the BMD (bunks Chof-Bais through Chof-Hey) were having bunk war, bunk Yud-Daled decided to make themselves at home in bunk Cof-hey’s bunkhouse, and had a popcorn party there. Throughout the week tension ran high between the two bunks. On Monday, bunk Yud-Daled audaciously posted signs around camp displaying pictures of their popcorn party, with the caption “we will be back.” In retaliation, bunk Chof Hey raided bunk Yud-Daled, stacking their mattresses in the corner of their bunkhouse, and spewing ketchup around the room. During the second activity, it seemed as if the tension had reached its boiling point, as both sides gathered on the hill for a showdown. Many curious spectators from other bunks gathered to watch the spectacle. Suddenly, Head Counselor Yudi Steiner pulled onto the hill, in a car. He called all the counselors to come to his car. Everybody huddled around the car. After a brief meeting, they all ran away from the car, screaming COLOR WAR!!
After the breakout, Head Counselor Shaya Gopin gathered everyone in the Shul, where the teams were divided, and the staff were announced. The name of this year’s color war is Hiskashrus War. The two teams represent two ways we express our connection to the Rebbe. The first team’s name Roeh Neman, faithful shepherd. Their goal is to demonstrate how the Rebbe is the shepherd of every Jew. Just like a shepherd cares for each of his sheep individually, the Rebbe cares for ever single Jew. The second team’s theme is Ahavas Hachassidim, the love of the chassidim. In addition to the love that we all have for every Jew, there is a special bond between the chassidim, as we are all children of one father, the Rebbe.
Mincha was davened with the usual chayus that characterizes color war, however, as in BOG war, the main stress will be placed on saying the words and looking inside the siddur, not on screaming. Following Mincha and supper, each team put on two short skits.
Tuesday morning, many children had already learned their “Mishnayos Baal Peh quota” before shachris. The others learned it throughout the day. For every camper who learns his quota of MBP, his team receives one point.
After breakfast, each team put on a halcha skit. The goal of the skit is to demonstrate a halcha in an entertaining way. Team Ahavas Hachassidim displayed the halachos of talking in middle of davening; Roeh Neman’s skit taught the minimum shiur of a mikveh.
After the halcha skits, it was learning classes as usual, after which each team got together to learn their theme song.
At 1:30 everyone went to eat lunch. After lunch, each team presented their songs to the judges. Following the presentation, the camp was split into five groups, based on age, for relay races. The relay races were definitely very innovative. Some of the interesting games include: a race to see which team can eat a package of crackers faster, a complex race, in which each member of the team must pass a ball, without dropping it.
At 5:35 everyone davened Mincha in the dining room, as team Roeh Neman was using the Shul to prepare their play. Roeh Neman’s play was about a boy who escapes from Dachau. He is found by a group of Jewish partisans. He joins the partisans, and becomes an active member. He volunteers to work as a butler in the house of a Nazi official, in order to gain access to the Nazi’s large storehouse so that they can provide many Jews with food. When his old prison guard from Dachau visits his employer, the Nazis notice his extreme nervousness. Suspecting something is wrong, they keep a watchful eye on him. The Nazis catch him red-handed, stealing food from the storehouse. They lock him up in prison. The leader of the partisans, out of his great love and care for each member of his group, risks his life to save him from the Nazi prison.
Ahavas Hachassidim’s play takes us back to the times of the Inquisition. Four students of the great Chacham, all of whom hold high positions in the government, make a pact to always care for each other. Should any of them be caught, he will never inform the government of the Jewishness of his fellows. The four friends break into a jail to rescue a boy who is being held there for adhering to his Judaism. The Inquisition suspects that it is an inside job, and to protect his friends, Isser admits his involvement, but claims to have no accomplices. Isser is executed, and his son is sent to an orphanage/monastery. The brotherhood, Isser’s friends, try to get him out, but the priests are one step ahead of them. They send Isser’s son off to Rome to study to become a priest. After fifteen years, he comes back as an ordained priest, brimming with passion to show other Jewish children “the light” that he had the privilege to be shown, if necessary with force. Despite their past failure, their great love for Isser, and their devotion to the Chacham, who warned them to stay together, inspires them to try once again. Another representative is sent to Isser’s son. At first he refuses to listen, but when he realizes the great love his father’s friends have, he begins to remember his father’s parting words. He decides to return to Judaism.
Wednesday morning once again started off bright and early with Mishnayos Baal Peh. After breakfast each team delivered their halacha speech. The halacha speech, unlike the halcha skit, is more serious and more informative. Ahavas Hachassidm’s discussed the laws of carrying on shabbos and Roeh Neman’s discussed the laws of Krias Sh’ma. Wednesday’s schedule was very similar to Tuesday’s with learning classes, team time to review the theme song and learn the alma mater, followed by more relay races.
After Mincha it was time for the Grand Scene. Roeh Neman came up with the extremely original idea of dressing up like workers in Chip ‘n’ dip. Chip ‘n’ Dip is a chain of kosher fast food restaurants that serve drinks, French fries, and thirteen different dips. Every camper and staff member wore an apron and bandana, adorned with the Chip ‘n’ Dip logo, and the Chip ‘n’ Dip slogan “It’s in the dip.” Each was also equipped with a small towel to clean up any spills. Near the campers was a larger-than-life-sized deep fryer. The bleachers on which the campers stood were modeled after the Chip ‘n’ Dip’s stand. In front of the bleachers stood several oversized bottles of dips. On the side stood a humongous replica of a cone of French fries from Chip ‘n’ Dip. The backdrops depicted Route 17, where the Parksville branch of Chip ‘n’ Dip is located. On the side hung another backdrop portraying the Mobil station near which Chip ‘n’ Dip situated. The owners of the Parksville franchise came to camp for the occasion!
Ahavas Hachassidim dressed as military cadets, graduating from West Point Academy. Each one wore a tie, a cap, red shoulder pads and boots. At the front of the Shul stood a large podium, with the insignia of the U.S. Army. There was also a monument in honor of all the soldiers who are missing in action, and a realistic looking tank. One backdrop displayed West Point Military Academy, and the other showed several army planes flying in formation.
During the Grand Sing, each team sang their theme song, alma mater and many other niggunim and camp songs. Our devoted cook, Rabbi Shlomo Futerfas, provided the entire camp with freshly baked donuts and bottles of Poland Spring water. Towards the end of the Grand Sing, Roeh Neman presented several grammin, and a hilarious comedy skit. Ahavas Hachassidim also presented several grammin and an extremely well put together comedy song. After it was all over, the last Maariv of color war was davened, and at approximately 1:00, Camp Gan Israel settled down for the latest lights out of the summer.
Wednesday afternoon, after lunch, everyone gathered in the Shul for the announcement of the winners. Due to the rain, the usual camp tradition, of the throwing the judges in the pool could not be done. Furtunatly, several staff members brought their water guns, and cups full of water to insure that all involved parties got duly soaked. After much ado, the judges announced, that the winning team is none other than AHAVAS HACHASSIDIM!!
Reb. Yehudah Chitrik watches the CGI webcam during his morning breakfast. Reb Yehudah has three great grand children in camp this year. Shmuli & Eli Gross and Shmulik Schneerson. It was arranged that they were all to wave at the camera while their elter zaydeh was watching. To Reb Yehuda’s excitement he waved back.
This past Sunday, 194 campers came to Cocoa Club! Everyone who came received a picture of the Rebbe, a ticket in the raffle to win a fifteen speed bicycle, and a length of lanyard!
Visiting Day had a humongous turnout. Parents, relatives and friends came to visit the campers. To entertain the guests, camp brought down a petting zoo. The zoo included two llamas, two ponies, several ducks and a couple of rabbits and goats. A tractor, with a wagon on back, took staff, campers and visitors on rides from the square, around the shul and back. At the lake front, bumper boats, canoes and rowboats were available to be taken out. The canteen had a special expanded menu for visiting day. One of the most popular items was the fried chicken wings. Some parents stayed in camp to enjoy all that was happening there, while others took their children to the many restaurants and attractions in area. At 6:00 camp time, visiting day ended, and Camp Gan Yisroel lined up for flag lowering, as usual.
This past shabbos, the Internatinal Yarchei Kallah took place. This year had one of the largest turnouts ever, with over 50 rabonim attending. Many of the greatest rabbis of our time came to spend shabbos at Camp Gan Yisroel. Some guests came Wednesday afternoon. Most came on Thursday, while camp was traveling to Crown Heights.
On shabbos, the guests davened with camp. After Kabolas Shabbos, all the campers walked by the rabbis to shake their hands. For learning class on shabbos afternoon, the camp was divided into three groups, according to age. Rabbi Shimon Lazaroff, head shliach of Texas taught the youngest group. Rabbi Shalom Ber Groner, mashpia of the yeshiva in South Africa taught another class, and Rabbi Raitport of Venezuela led the third. During Shalosh Seudos, Rabbi Shimon Lazaroff told an entertaining and insightful story, which was enjoyed by all.
During the Melava Malkah many of the rabbis related what a great impression camp made on them. From the davening to the Mishnayos Baal Peh, the campers showed the rabonim how true soldiers of Tzivos Hashem behave. Overall the campers and the guests greatly enjoyed the shabbos.
This past Wednesday, in preparation for our trip to the Rebbe the next day, the head staff farbrenged with the campers. The camp was divided into five groups, based on age. The farbrengens were conducted by Learning Director Oshi Hecht, Head Counselors Yudi Steiner, Shaya Gopin and Chezzy Deren. The head staff related stories of the Rebbe and explained to the children the significance of going to the Rebbe. Special song sheets were printed out, with songs befitting the occasion. The farbrengens definitely helped make everyone understand the enormity of the trip.
The next day after breakfast, everyone went to mikveh, in the pool, to prepare for writing a pan to the Rebbe. Following mikveh, every camper was given a camp T-shirt, and went to their learning class to write a pan. After lunch, we boarded the comfortable coach busses, destination: 770! Some staff members came to 770 before the campers arrived, to set up the benches for camp. The entire front section of 770 was partitioned off for camp. Everyone filed into 770, where we davened a smashing Mincha, the likes of which 770 hadn’t seen since last year’s Chof Av. Following Mincha we sang some niggunim with great enthusiasm. We then walked out to the front of 770 where everybody lined up to go into the Rebbe’s room. While we waited, the pesukim were recited and more songs were sung. Head Counselor Yudi Steiner spoke about the great zechus we have to go into the Rebbe’s room. One by one, each bunk went into the Rebbe’s room. Where Head Counselor Shaya Gopin directed each camper to give tzedakah, and recite some Tehillim.
After everybody came out of the Rebbe’s room, we boarded the busses, and headed off to the Ohel. At the Ohel there was a rally with yet more leibidike singing. Yudi Steiner later said that in all his fifteen years in camp, he had never seen such lively singing. Each bunk went into the Ohel, read their pan and said Tehillim. A delicious supper consisting of salami and turkey sandwiches and plenty of drinks was served in the beautifully set up third tent behind Ohel Chabad Lubavitch. After everyone finished eating and davening Maariv, it was back to the back to the busses for the ride back to camp, uplifted, invigorated and inspired by the day’s events. Believe it or not, after such a packed day, we arrived in camp a full half hour ahead of schedule!
Bunk War began Monday Afternoon. The BMD was divided in two teams. The first team is Tomim. Their goal is to demonstrate the uniqueness and responsibility of a Tomim. The second team is Neir Lehoir. Their goal is to demonstrate how a person can affect someone else, and he will in turn affect others, just as one candle ignites another candle, ehich in turn light yet more candles. Each team presented theme speeches, wrote songs and put on plays to bring out their themes. The “Generals” and “Lieutenants” were campers. The staff helped out, but did not join any specific team.
Night Activity Director Dovid Taub, also the creator of www.itchekadoozy.com, put on a special presentation for Sunday’s and Monday’s night activity. Rabbi Itche Kadoozy (a puppet) played a game with the campers, called “A closer look.” A video of the show is available at www.itchekadoozy.com
Tuesday night, Rabbi Itche Kadoozy served as moderator during a night activity entitled “How Well Do You Know Your Brother?” The game is played as followsThree pairs of brothers come on stage. The older brothers leave, and the younger brothers are asked questions about their brothers. The older brothers are then called in, and they answer the questions themselves. If the brothers’ answers concur, that pair receives a point. For the first round, three pairs of campers came on stage. For the second round, Head Counselor Yudi Steiner and his two brother, Head Counselor Shaya Gopin and his brother came on stage. Itche Kadoozy himself was asked questions about his “brother” Dovid Taub.
Sunday night was the overnight for bunks Yud-Daled through Chof-Hey. Bunks Aleph through Yud-Gimmel went on their overnight Monday night. Bunks Aleph through Daled camped out in “the Rebbe’s Forest,” a short walk from camp. The older bunks camped out further from camp.
Although the specific schedules varied from one bunk to another, the general schedule was as follows: When the campers arrived at their site, they unpacked their bags, and then went to collect wood for the bonfire. The bonfire was lit, and everyone ate a barbeque supper. As the night wore on, the campers sat around the bonfire and sang songs and heard stories from the staff members. Although they were not in camp, the next morning Cocoa Club was held, as usual. Over 85% of the campers at both overnights attended Cocoa Club! Everyone then davened Shachris, ate breakfast and packed up to return to camp.
Sunday Morning, three campers put on tefillin for the first time. The names of the campers are: Yaacov Kaplan, Levi Sharfstein and Levi Hassan.
Sunday was the first day of the leagues! For one activity each day, the campers are divided not by bunk, but by team. The performance of each team is recorded. At the end of the summer, the top teams will play each other in playoffs, culminating in a championship game. The camp is divided in three divisions, according to age. Each team has campers of all ages from within that division. On Sunday, as it was the first day, the scores did not count for the record.