Wow! It’s so hard to believe that we are entering our final Shabbos! The time really flew by. I am proud to say that this has been such a successful summer in so many ways! I believe that each of your children grew, matured, connected to the Jewish people and our land, and had the time of their lives.
Sulam kicked off its final week by going to the As Is Goat Farm, where we made our own focaccia, learned and saw how cheese is made, and some of the bravest even milked goats! It was a very fun and unique experience. This was followed by our final hike of the summer and dinner at the Talpiyot mall.
Monday carried a more somber tone, as we prepared for Tisha B’av. We started at Har Herzl, Israel’s military cemetery. There, we heard personal stories of the brave soldiers throughout the decades whose ultimate sacrifice has enabled us to be in Israel today. This was especially meaningful given the current situation in Israel. We then took the short walk to Yad Vashem, Israel’s official Holocaust Museum. We received guided tours from the museum’s informative staff. Not only did they cover the historical details of the Shoah, they also emphasized the human side which is often overlooked, telling stories of specific victims which served to deepen the impact the tour had. It served as a powerful way to get us into the Tisha B’Av mentality.
We returned to the Bayit Vegan Youth Hostel to prepare for the fast with a Seudah Mafseket. As night fell, we headed out to the porch of our hotel, which overlooked the hills of Yad Vashem and Har Herzl. Rabbi Fleksher lained Eicha and spoke of the significance of this Tisha Bav. The program was emotionally charged with singing and telling stories relating to the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash and our exile. The most moving moments were when campers, many of whom are not the public speaker type, got up to share their personal stories that changed their lives. Sulam was transformed from a group into a family.
Tuesday morning we had a kinot program during davening. Each kina was accompanied by a video, story, or song. Films appropriate for the day were shown throughout the afternoon, each accompanied by a meaningful discussion. We ended Tisha Bav by going to the Kotel. On the one hand, we were face to face with the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash, face to face with the Mosque occupying Har HaBayit; on the other hand, however, we felt intense pride just by gazing at the size of the gathered crowd, and partaking in the passionate singing from the enormous circle of boys seated on the Kotel plaza floor. We were very proud to be there. We went to Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh to daven Maariv and then broke our fast on lasagna, salad, fruit, and baked goods.
On Wednesday we headed down south for our much anticipated trip to Eilat. What made this trip extra special was that we were joined by a group of kids from areas affected by constant rocket fire from Gaza. We had the opportunity to bond with them during a hike, during family groups, dinner at the mall, and on the party boat, a Sulam favorite! See the link to read more about this unbelievable initiative. http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/american-and-israeli-youth-to-enjoy-sunshine-not-sirens-270275641.html
Thursday has been dubbed as arguably the BEST day of Sulam! The boys and girls were split up, and each group enjoyed a day filled with snorkeling, tuning, banana boats, kayaking, parasailing, jetskiing, and just spending time splashing and swimming in the cool, beautiful, and clear waters of Eilat. A great way to spend a 106 degree weather day! It was a blast! We ended the night in the very cool Ice Mall and time at the boardwalk, where many kids opted to get flung high into the air at the Yaniv Fireball ride. We couldn’t think of a better way to end off the final week of what has been a memorable summer.
Friday we returned to Yerushalayim, where will be spending our last Shabbat. We will be walking to the Kotel for Kabbalat Shabbat which is always a moving experience. We’re looking forward to Motzei Shabbos which is our end-of-summer celebration and banquet.
I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to you, the parents, for your tremendous support and patience this summer. It goes without saying that this amazing summer would not have been possible without your full cooperation and understanding. It was a difficult time, and it certainly was not easy to be so far away from your children. Your confidence in our program and staff allowed your children to have a truly life changing summer. Thank you!!!
We would like to thank everyone who sent tips for the American counselors to our camp office. If anyone still wants to participate,please send the tips to the Morasha office in PA. this weekend. Anyone who decides to send it later should mail it to our Brooklyn address at 1118 Ave J Brooklyn NY 11230. We will provide the counselors with a list of all the participants when we distribute these tips in about two weeks.
We thank you again for entrusting your children to Camp Morasha, and hope they had a meaningful, educational, and fun summer. They certainly had a tremendous impact on me- I learned so much from each of them, and admire them both as individuals and as a group for their strength, dedication, and love for Am Yisrael and Klal Yisrael. I wish them the best in the future and will certainly miss them.
Final Sulam photos from this entire week will be uploaded over the weekend.