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!!