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 ERUPTS @ Camp Gan Israel! –

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, 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

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.


A new system has been introduced for the Bar Mitzvah Division’s seder chassidus. Previously, chassidus was learned with the same learning class as the other sedarim. Since Friday, a class of chassidus consists of two to four boys. Many learning teachers of younger classes, as well as some general staff, were asked to teach chassidus. Each learning teacher can teach what he feels suits his class, however most classes are learning selections from a sefer called “Mehusom Shel Yisroel” by R. Yoel Kahn.

This Friday night, the Number One Division, Bunks Aleph through Daled, had a separate minyan for Kabbalas Shabbos. They davened in the BMD Zal.

The yearly Dance Night took place this Motzai Shabbos. The benches in the Shul were moved to the sides, and the center of the Shul became the dance floor. Kitchen Manager Dovid Altien played the keyboard. Bar Mitzvah Division Head Shumly Friedman and Counselor Yehudah Friedman sang. At one point, General Manager Mendel Traxler juggled fire, much to the delight of the crowd. Snow cones were given out to all the campers. The singing and dancing lasted well over an hour, and a great time was had by all.