Courage, Heart & Kef (Fun)

Anna Serviansky6.17.23
many kids on the Camp rope "spider web"

Drishat Shalom from Camp Ramah Darom

Shelach is one of my favorite summer parshiyot! I still remember the peulat Shabbat (Shabbat activity) I planned as a madricha (counselor) some 20 years ago where my chanichim (campers) pretended to be spies just like in the parsha and went all over our kikar (grassy field) at Ramah Darom on a mission!

Experiential learning is what makes Ramah Darom so special. Our summer chanichim (campers) learn about Jewish living, values and of course themselves. I find it so meaningful to see them participate in all of our joyful Jewish Camp activities. But what truly fills my heart is watching them encompass middot (values) that help them be better humans and Jews.

Nachshonim’s middah (value) for the summer is ometz lev, courage. Literally, ometz lev means strength of the heart or heart strength. It takes faith and courage to try new things and to speak up. Nachshonim had Yom (Day) Exodus this week, where they learned about Nachshon in the Torah, who was the first person to enter the Red Sea and lead the Israelites. Nachshonim also demonstrates ometz lev as an aidah (age division) by preparing to put themselves in front of the older aidot (age divisions) at Camp for NachshoLive, which we are excited to watch.

I encourage all our chanichim and tzevet (staff) to exhibit ometz lev –the courage to stand up for what is right, to speak out when people are mistreated and to have the courage to try new things. Just like Caleb and Joshua, who in this week’s parsha had ometz lev to enter the promised land even when they were afraid of what lay ahead, may your chanichim see Ramah Darom as the place where they can strengthen their hearts and take the courage they feel at Camp back home with them.

Please scroll down to read our Aidah Highlights and watch our Machzor Aleph Week 2 video.


Nitzanim (4th grade)

  • Built creative courses and practiced their aidah (age division) middah (value) of anava (humility) by working as a team and being good friends
  • Learned songs in Ivrit (Hebrew) and are so excited to perform them in front of the Camp before Kabbalat Shabbat
  • Had Torah-lympics to learn about the order of the Torah service in tefillah (services) and had a great time praying with Nivonim (10th graders)

Sollelim (5th grade)

  • Had a wonderful Yom Olympics and worked as a team all day
  • Learned our dance for the rikkudiyah (dance festival)
  • Had a wonderful tefillah (service) and learned about why we pray

Halutzim (6th grade)

  • Started our week with scenic Sunday tefillot (services), praying in different locations around Camp and connecting to Camp and our prayers in different ways
  • Learned Israeli games from some of our mishlachat (Israeli staff) and had a great time playing them
  • Participated in Halutzim boot camp to learn more about the pioneers who helped at the creation of Israel, wrote thank you notes to the pioneers of Camp, and participated in a shark tank activity to brainstorm ways to make Camp even better on Yom Meyuhad (thematic programming on Wednesday)

Kochavim (7th grade)

  • Continued to work on practicing for the play and choreographed their big number “Status Quo”
  • Played Human Apples to Apples on Sunday night and everyone dressed up in amazing costumes
  • Learning how to lead and enjoying tefillot (prayers)

Shoafim (8th grade)

  • Had an amazing Yom Meyuchad (thematic programming on Wednesday) and learned about kibbutz life through farming activities at Camp
  • Went to the waterfall to kasher mason jars and later made pickles in them
  • Participated in an incredible, interactive musical tefillah (prayer) and had so much kef (fun)

Nachshonim (9th grade)

  • Held host auditions for Nachsho Live and finished writing scripts for each project
  • Dressed up fancy, played classic bar/bat mitzvah party games like Coke & Pepsi and got a taste of what High School will be like as rising freshmen during NachsHOCO (one of our evening activities)
  • Participated in Yom Exodus, where chanichim (campers) made matzah, discussed what their personal mitzrayim (current struggles/issues in life) was, dressed up in ancient Israelite garb and watched the Prince of Egypt at night

Nivonim (10th grade)

  • Learned their aidah (age division) song “Bein Kodesh L’Hol” by Amir Dadon in preparation for their role this Shabbat when Nivonim will sing in front of the whole Camp, coordinate services and set up for dinner
  • Riffed off the theme of “NivoU” and took “classes” from their counselors about their passions/majors, including Civil Rights, environmental justice, Jewish FAQ and jazz history
  • Competed in “Jewpardy” where they tested their Jewish knowledge and dressed up as characters, including minions and the smurfs

Gesher (11th grade)

  • Had amazing attitudes on the first night of Etgar when they were rained out and had to sleep in a gift shop
  • Challenged themselves on Etgar physically by doing ziplining, hiking and a giant swing, and challenged themselves emotionally having one on one conversations with new friends during dyadic encounters
  • Discussed what it means to take initiative and be a leader and talked about their goals and expectations for each other throughout the kayitz (summer)

Koach (VocEd)

  • Created signs and put them up around Camp to promote kindness and positivity
  • Planned their Shabbat Oneg and researched what they could buy for the Oneg that would fit within their budget
  • Learned Hebrew for some Cafe Darom words so tzevet (staff) can order in English or Hebrew