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.

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

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!!


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.


rabbi laibel schapiro miami beach flThis 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.