Shining stars in and out of Camp

Anna Serviansky6.23.23

Drishat Shalom from Camp Ramah Darom

The sun is finally out today, but even with our rainy weather, we had a bright week at Camp and your chanichim (campers) were shining stars! On Sunday, we had our Rikkudiyah, where each aidah danced to an Israeli song from the Eurovision contest. Last night, our Kochavimers put on a production of High School Musical. And throughout the week, chanichim who read Torah or lead tefillah (prayer) earned stickers to put on their water bottles!

I’m in awe of your chanichim for how they radiate joy and pride when they participate fully in Camp! Many of our chanichim were on yitziot (trips) this week, and I was so proud to receive glowing reports from those who served them, proving that they are stars both in and out of Camp.

Nivonimers went to Nashville, a new trip for Camp Ramah Darom, and the caterer told their Rosh Aidah she wanted to write me to let me know how polite, respectful and grateful the children were. When the weather didn’t cooperate for our Shoafim yitziah, our incredible team rallied and found the Blue Ridge Activity and Tumbling Center, where our Shoafim chanichim and tzevet (staff) “camped out” indoors. The owner said that the chanichim were incredibly kind and well-mannered, and her staff actually stayed late into the night, longer than expected, because they were having so much fun with the chanichim!

This week we are focusing on Kochavim’s middah (value), derech eretz – approaching the ways of the world with decency. It is clear that Ramah Darom chanichim embodied this value on their yitziot, and in this week’s parsha, Korach, we see what happens when the Israelites do not act with decency and kindness and when their leadership is not used for respect.

A midrash on this parsha advises that our neighbors and whom we surround ourselves with can influence our behavior. Luckily, when we are at Camp, we are surrounded by the good influences of our tzevet (staff) and our whole kehillah (community). We are so thankful that our chanichim are taking these good values and derech eretz to heart both in and out of Camp!

Please scroll down to read our Aidah Highlights and watch our Machzor Aleph Week 3 video.


Garinim (3rd grade)

  • Enjoyed starting their sports: judo, rikud (dancing) and yoga and their activities: omanut (art), machnaut (camping) and shira (singing)
  • Had tons of fun at the agam (lake), canoeing, blobbing and jumping on the water trampoline
  • Learned new Hebrew words and then made kadurei shokolad (chocolate balls) in chug b’ivrit (Hebrew activities) and got to stay up late to watch the Kochavim play in Hebrew

Nitzanim (4th grade)

  • Danced to “Ole Ole” at Rikudiyah and enjoyed watching other aidot perform their dances
  • Learned some army drills and about the importance of the IDF across parts of Israeli society from our shlichim (staff from Israel)
  • Made an Ashrei-style acrostic recap of our gem mining and trout fishing field trip, from “Amethyst to Zev had fun”

Sollelim (5th grade)

  • Made our own “Dead Sea Scrolls” to be found in 2000 years (actually, next week when they go on a scavenger hunt to find them)
  • Learned about early Israeli sollelim (pioneers) as well as learning the song ארץ ישרא שלי (Eretz Israel Sheli)
  • Had a wonderful trip to Project Chimps, where we toured the facility, heard all about chimpanzees and got to see them playing for a few minutes (like us, they aren’t big fans of the rain)

Halutzim (6th grade)

  • Searched Camp high and low for little Srulik as part of Yom Yisrael and found the most out of any other aidah in Camp
  • Had a Just Dance & Karaoke party that highlighted our aidah’s amazing singing and dancing talents
  • Practiced our Hebrew and cooking skills while making delicious shakshuka

Kochavim (7th grade)

  • Performed High School Musical in Hebrew on Thursday night, and it was a slam dunk performance
  • Learned about Parshat Shlach Lechah and ran around Camp playing games that taught them spy skills
  • Joined Gesher in the silly and fun “Soap Olympics” where they played Ultimate Frisbee but with a bar of soap instead of a Frisbee

Shoafim (8th grade)

  • Put on the Shoafim Shuk on Yom Israel, and everyone had a blast practicing how to ask for things and how much things cost in Hebrew when they visited the booths from sticker stations to temporary tattoos to bead making to s’mores
  • Had a very fun pool party in the rain
  • Enjoyed some new awesome additions to their field trip and the big surprise was a sleepover in a gymnasium where chanichim had so much fun jumping on trampolines, swinging and walking on the balance beams

Nachshonim (9th grade)

  • Played water sports, had a cannonball contest and more at their nighttime pool party
  • Had an amazing day in Asheville, NC, where we went to the movies, caught a minor league baseball game and slept in the local JCC and stopped in Franklin, NC, for a game of laser tag and mountain tubing on their way home
  • Prepared for Nachshonim Shabbat by learning the shir (song) they will sing in front of Camp on Friday night as well as chazzan and Torah reading duties

Nivonim (10th grade)

  • Prepared for our three-day yitziah (trip) to Nashville, TN, with an activity in Camp where we discussed our privilege and how it relates to social justice today, then had a great time on our trip learning about Nashville’s history and enjoying the hospitality of the town
  • Learned about the history of Andrew Jackson by visiting his home, experienced Nashville culture by visiting the Country Music Hall of Fame and experienced southern hospitality through a stay at West End Synagogue
  • Ended the week visiting the Paper Clip Project in Whitwell, TN, where they learned about the effort to collect 6 million + paper clips in memorial of the victims of the Holocaust (On the far right, in the second row of the photo taken in front of the German rail car that houses the memorial, are Camp alumn and staff parents, Alison Lebovitz, president of the Paper Clip Project and Arthur Lebovitz, former Ramah Darom camper and counselor)

Gesher (11th grade)

  • Started serving as CITs and had their first Hadracha (extra training) where they reflected on the counselor position and effective ways to work with campers
  • Dressed up to go to the theatre for the Kochavim play and afterwards played aidah games
  • Enjoyed a mini Ramacabbiah relay race where they had to compete against each other with challenges like human knot, charades, leapfrog, a dance-off and a half-court shot

Koach (VocEd)

  • Learned how to make ice cream from scratch and made beautiful tie-dye shirts
  • Practiced laundry skills so they could have clean sheets for the week and worked on making their beds
  • Roasted marshmallows and sang Camp songs around the fire