This is Not a Trick–It’s Magic

Geoff Menkowitz7.5.20
I often speak and write about “the magic of Ramah Darom.” It sounds like a marketing tagline and, admittedly, one that is not particularly creative. But many of us connected to Ramah Darom cling to this phrase because of how difficult it is to accurately articulate the wondrous personal growth that takes place at Camp, the precious friendships that are forged, and the profound sense of belonging that comes from summers spent living amidst our sacred community.
Like Mary Poppins’ bag that cannot possibly contain everything that comes out of it or the enormous Quidditch World Cup Stadium that is housed in a modest tent, the Ramah Darom experience exceeds the sum of it parts: the impact it has on our lives far surpasses other influences, especially compared to the amount of time we spend anywhere else; reason and rationale cannot explain the central place that it holds in our hearts. So speaking about the “magic” of Ramah Darom – cheesy though it may be – rings true.
I’ve been thinking about magic this week because one of the most popular chuggim (elective activities) that we have posted as part of Kayitz BaBayit has been the instructional magic videos. These videos obviously bear the title “magic” because of the prestidigitation demonstrated and revealed. But I think what is truly magical about them is that they feature Naor, an Israeli university student now three years removed from his summer as a counselor at Camp, who still feels so connected to Ramah Darom that he was willing to volunteer his time to put together these videos.
The video is also magical in the way that Hebrew language is so naturally integrated into the instruction that kids learn vocabulary and phrases while having fun – without even realizing it! And the magic of these videos is so strong that it has inspired campers to stretch themselves and become performers: this past week campers performed these tricks for their Camp friends during virtual talent shows and for their families at home.
Even though we have not been physically together, I hope that your family has been able to feel the magic of Ramah Darom through chuggim (electives), shira (singing), and pe’ulot tzrif (bunk activities). The magic has been especially apparent during the camp-wide experiences which bookend Shabbat.