A Refreshing Taste of Palmer (and Kazakhstan) in Central Park


HB Biking in CRNE
As you can imagine, the days leading up to camp are exciting
and action packed.  For the Tikvah
Director, who doesn’t work out of the camp office, there is no period of “packing up the office and moving to Palmer.”  So, when the office is in transition, my
computer is still on and with me.  And I receive
many calls from Tikvah (and even non-Tikvah) families—seeking information from
a person about bus departures, luggage tags, etc.  But, for the most part, I am putting
finishing touches on the Tikvah Program and the Inclusion Programs for Kayitz,
2010.  It is crunch time! 

This week alone, I met with Ariella, our rosh edah, sent out
Tikvah bunking, interviewed an out of state Tikvah family (at an NYC kosher
bagel and pizza store!), spoke with counselors, a newspaper reporter and a
funder, did tons of paper work, and wrote and answered hundreds of emails.  You know it is countdown time when emails
sent to my camp colleagues—Ed, Davey, Josh, Rhonda, Hagit, Erica, etc–are
returned instantly—even at 11 pm! 

Yet, sometimes the best way to prepare for camp is to take a
break from camp!

Today, it is a hot, sunny day in Manhattan.  
After a few hours of doing camp work and staring out at the beautiful
weather, I decided to get away from camp by getting on my bike and heading over
to Central Park.  The park is closed to car traffic starting at
10 am.  So, at 11:30 or so, I put on my
biking clothes, grabbed my helmet, pumped up my tires and hit the park.  The “loop” is six miles, and the runner and
biker lanes were packed with others who had the same idea.  The park was packed with school kids having
picnics, color wars and attending the marionette show.  And there were readers, tennis players and sunbathers

I was at peace, almost in a dream state, as I neared Tavern
on the Green on the West Side, in the
60s.  All of a sudden, I thought I saw a t-shirt, identical to
one I have and actually wear quite often—a gray staff t-shirt with RAMAH in big
orange letters on the front, and “Tzevet (Staff) 2008” on the back.  But I was relaxed and pedaling 22 miles an
hour.  Couldn’t be.  Why would a pedicab (bike cab) driver in
Central Park in New York City
be wearing a shirt from my camp?!  My curiosity got the better of me.  I slowed and stopped in front of the “cab”
and asked the driver where he got the shirt. 
Well, “Ilya, the pedicab driver, was “Ilya the kitchen worker” two years
ago at Camp Ramah
in New England!  “Where are you from?”  I asked. 
he replied.  He still eyed me a bit
suspiciously.  I asked, “Oh, you worked
with Meital and Randy?”  He smiled.  I invited him to come visit.  I reached in to my pouch and forked over the
one piece of identification I had on me—my Camp Ramah
in New England-Tikvah Director business card. 
“Call me if I can be of help,” I said. 
His smile got bigger.  I got back
on my bike and went back to dreaming—this time of bike rides, in just a few
weeks, with my many camp friends—including my kitchen staff friends–to Quabbin

Categories: Tikvah