Words at Play

Anna Serviansky7.15.23

Drishat Shalom from Camp Ramah Darom

It’s been another wonderful week at Camp Ramah Darom, our second week of Machzor Bet, and there are lots of happy campers enjoying their activities all around Camp. This week, we said goodbye to our Ta’am campers and welcomed our Garinim Bet campers (and our Gesher campers returned from their 10-day tiyul (trip) up and down the East Coast).

Garinim’s middah (value) is binah, which means understanding and comes from the root livnot, to build. Our Garinimers are building an understanding of what it means to be part of our kehillah (community). During their 11-night Camp experience, they learn how to have kavod (respect) for one another, how to have aruchot (meals) together, how to do nikayon (clean), rikud (dancing), shira (singing), ruach (spirit) and so many more fun Camp traditions! And it always makes me smile to see Ramah Darom through their young eyes.

One way chanichim (campers) learn kavod and what it means to build our kehillah kedosha (our holy community) is through words. We teach them that the words we choose to use are important. At Camp, we use words that build each other up, we use words that are kind, and we use words that show kavod.

Judaism has much to say about the power of speech and our words. Countless times in our tefillot (prayers) and in the Torah, we are taught that words matter. This Shabbat, we read Matot-Masei, in which the laws of oaths and vows are discussed. Here we learn that once you make an oath or vow, you are meant to keep it. To put it another way, our words truly matter and make a lasting impression.

As part of our hinuch (education) at Camp, we teach and remind each other, our chanichim and tzevet of all ages, that words should focus on our value of binah (understanding) and its root “to build” to create a community of individuals who listen to one another and who use words that we would want to be remembered by, that we would want to fulfill.

We hope you enjoy this week’s video, which gives a glimpse into the kef (fun) of Camp and our community at play and scroll down to read our Aidah Highlights.


Garinim (3rd grade)

  • Changed the clocks back to “Camp time” at their own opening ceremonies after Camp’s traditional Wednesday cook-out dinner
  • Made challah to enjoy on Shabbat
  • Learned Camp dances and songs to get ready for Shabbat

Nitzanim (4th grade)

  • Enjoyed aidah (age group) bonding time, helped cook on the fire, slept under the stars and had tefillah (prayer) in nature during their campout
  • Had a day inspired by our favorite movies, where they learned about famous Jewish role models like Barbie, practiced Jewish values like humility and wisdom, and trying new things like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the Little Mermaid, and inspired by the rules of the kingdom in Frozen that made it magical, they learned about Kashrut and made ice cream
  • Learned about Camp locations and traditions and can identify some of their favorite things, such as the pool party, Camp songs and dances and Shabbat

Sollelim (5th grade)

  • Took part in a special yom meyuchad (day of programming) where they made creative art projects from natural materials, including lots of sticks
  • Had a great time swimming with friends and listening to music at their mesibat bricha (pool party)
  • Learned about the purpose behind why we pray in the mornings and what some of our central tefillot (prayers) mean

Halutzim (6th grade)

  • Had fun dancing and playing in the pool during their mesibat bricha (pool party)
  • Enjoyed Yom Halutzim, which included a “Chopped Challenge” making dishes from foods we typically eat at Camp, story time with Uncle Anthony and creating their own Halutzim-city
  • Made s’mores, sang songs around the medura (campfire) and became closer as an aidah (age group) during their campout

Kochavim (7th grade)

  • Learned about the multicultural state of Israel through stories from shlichim (Israeli staff) from Ethiopian, Yeminite, Turkish and Iraqi backgrounds and heard about their family’s immigration to Israel and what they contribute to the culture of Israel
  • Did “Yom The Great American Road Trip,” where they had tefillot (prayers) on the sandy beaches of California, traveled to Las Vegas and the Texas State Fair and finished the day under the lights of Time Square for a New York City-themed dance party
  • Sang songs, made s’mores and enjoyed the outdoors together during their campout

Shoafim (8th grade)

  • Worked hard to prepare the Shoafim Shuk, the market for the younger kids where they use their ivrit (Hebrew) skills
  • Had an incredible time with their Yom Clinic, where each camper got to choose to attend a music, fitness, meditation or art clinic led by their counselors
  • Received their personal siddurim during their Siddur Ceremony

Nachshonim (9th grade)

  • Challenged themselves on the Odyssey ropes course at night and built trust in one another and themselves
  • Dressed up for NachsHOCO (Homecoming Dance), where they played dancing games, had caricatures drawn, took pictures and more
  • Prepared for this week’s Nachshonim Shabbat, where chanichim (campers) will be singing a song for Camp and lead tefillot (prayers)

Nivonim (10th grade)

  • Participated in an activity called “Boundary Breakers,” where they sat in small groups at night discussing their hopes and dreams and concluded it with star-gazing
  • Enjoyed a nighttime pool party, where everyone got into the pool, took pictures and had a blast
  • Learned to appreciate nature with a day of hiking, meditation and nature-related art projects

Gesher (11th grade)

  • Returned to Camp after an amazing tiyul (trip) and everyone in Camp was thrilled to see them
  • Started their regular Camp activities again, including yahadut, swim, night chuggim (activities) and sports.
  • Held a Town Hall to begin discussing ideas for their legacy project

Ramah Bamah

  • Did their first run-through last night and are really having fun in rehearsal
  • Had a special Ramah Bamah table in the Chadar Ochel (Dining Hall) for lunch and played theater games
  • Excited for the big production this week