Regular day. The PA was fixed in all bunks on the hill. The younger divison began “leagues” today. Delicious fresh Pizza prepared by camp chef Shloimy futerfas and his staff was served for lunch. In all there were 50 full sheet pans with about 1000 total slices of pizza. Today was the first day for the one and only CGI roller blading activity, the kids all had a grand time. Yeshivas Kayitz had a b-b-q tonight for Supper, in Siberia. Bunks 12 & 13 were rewarded with the Summers first late night swimming activity in the indoor pool.
Wednesday 2 Tammuz
The seven oldest bunks in camp went on hikes today. The H.C.’s had a meeting in Rabbi Futerfas’ office this afternoon to discuss the Gimmel Tammuz Schedule. Later on in the afternoon the L.D.’s held a meeting with the L.T.’s on the front lawn.
Before Mincha all the campers went up to their Bunks to change into their Shabbos clothes. @ the meal the campers were priveleged to listen to Rabbi Yisroel Deren – Shliach in CT, who spoke about the Rebbe & Gimmel tammuz. After Rabbi Derens’ speech the entire camp sang “With a tehillim” & “Ad Mosai”. Instead of Night activity, the entire camp watched a longer than usual video of the Rebbe, afterward Rabbi Deren davened Maariv @ the Umud. Rabbi Shemtov, his voice choking with emotion, davened Maariv @ the Umud with the waiters Minyan. L.D. Rabbi Baras chazzered a portion of the Maamer “Veatuh Tetzaveh” @ both minyonim.
After maariv the youngest bunks went to sleep. The remanining bunks were split up in two Farbrengens, one with L.D.B.H. in the Yeshivas Kayitz dining room, the other with Rabbi Yisroel Deren in the main dining room, later in the eveing Rabbis’ Deren & Baras farbrengend for the staff.
Sunday August 15, 1976, FREE held its first Gala Pidyan Haben Ceremony at camp FREE Gan Israel Summer Camp, Parksville, New York.
The head table flanked with distinguished guest: Pictured left to right is Rabbis: Leibel Lipsker, Dovid Okounv, Mr. Gegerman, A. Pliskin, Avroham Shemtov. Rabbi Hirsh Chitrik, Moshe Pincos Katz, Zalmen Shimon Dworkin, Asher Kirsblum, Zev Nisenevitz (speaking).
Sunday August 7, 1973, FREE held its first Gala Bar Mitzvah Ceremony for fourteen young refugees at camp FREE Gan Israel Summer Camp, Parksville, New York.
The 14 Bar Mitzvah boys stand at the head table together with the distinguished guest: Pictured left to right on the lower level is Rabbis: Leibel Lipsker, A. Pliskin, Pinches Hirsprung, Zalmen Shimon Dworkin, Mayer Okounov (standing), Sholom Ber Gordon, Yisroel Friedman, Moshe Chaim Levin (standing), Mendel Okunov (standing). Upper level: Hirsh Okunov, Avroham Shemtov, Yitzchok Raitport, Hirsh Chitrik (speaking), renown tenor Jan Peerce.
One of FREE’s Gala Bar Mitzvah ceromonies at Camp FREE/Gan Israel, located in Kiryat Gan Israel, Parksville, NY.
Special delegation of honorary guests included Rabbis (front row from L. to R.): Gorowitz, Yeshoshua Korf, Zalmen Azimov, Abba Pliskin, Asher Sosonkin, Dovid Okunov.
Staff (standing) are Rabbis Zalman Shagalov, member of FREE’s Honorary Committee; Elazar Gorelick, Director of FREE in Melbourne; Mayer Okunov, Chairman of FREE; Mendel Okunov, Principle of FREE’s High School; Moshe Chaim Levin, Director of Chabad of Kensington; Yosef Volovic, Shlomo Galperin, teacher at FREE’s high-school.
An address to the children of Camp Gan Israel New York
Camp ‘Gan Israel’ is named after Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov, founder of the Chassidic movement — for through studying and living by his teachings, the Baal Shem Tov lives on.
A teaching of the Baal Shem Tov: “How can the Mishna say, ‘Who is wise? He who learns from every person,’ if not everyone you meet is a proper role model? The answer: When you meet a righteous person, learn from him how to act properly. And when you observe someone who is not righteous, learn from him how not to act.”
One time, a wagon got stuck in the mud, and the non-Jewish driver poked his head into the Baal Shem Tov’s synagogue, asking his disciples for help to pull the wagon out. The disciples replied: “We’re sorry, but we aren’t strong enough to lift it.” The man replied: “You can, but you don’t want to.” The Baal Shem Tov later explained the man’s words as a fundamental lesson: Don’t convince yourself that you aren’t strong enough. G-d grants the strength to achieve all good things — and if you truly want it, you will succeed.