Nivonim Roosletter 7.17.20

Camp News

By: Eli Bardash and Jennifer Nehrer

The first order of business: please fill out this google form! 

A long-time Ramahnik, Cantor Jeremy Stein, is releasing a new album of Havdalah music for Jewish summer camps. Stein has written the songs over the past few months, but it’s not entirely his project. To increase the campy nature of his album, Stein invited Ramah campers, staff, and alumni to add their own voices to a song of his. His first music video premiered Wednesday, July 15th, at 9:00 p.m. EDT on his Facebook page. Additionally, Stein’s Quarantine Concert series will feature special guest Cantor Jesse Holzer in the future. 

Ramah alum Paz Meyers also created a personal rendition of Eishet Chayil on the cello, to evoke memories of Friday nights at camp. The rendition is available here!

This past week, on Tuesday, July 14th, Nivonim had the pleasure of meeting with Rabbi Gordon Tucker. Rabbi Tucker spoke on his views of the connection between our world today and what we see in the Torah. He spoke extensively on the topic of climate change, intertwining his own personal experiences, issues around the globe, and guidance from the third book of the Torah, Vayikra (Leviticus). Rabbi Tucker usually visits Camp Ramah during the kayitz, but is glad to see that Nivonim 2020 is making the best of a less-than-ideal situation, given the fact that none of us are in Palmer, MA at this moment.  

This past week Nivonim campers continued writing to their young pen pals. Nivonimers have said that this program has been a fun and successful way of connecting with younger campers and sharing their love for the machane (camp). We hope that this wonderful program continues its success and would like to congratulate counselor Yael Liebman and her hadracha on the program’s achievements so far. 

Last week, Ramah tzevet (staff), alumni, and friends had the honor of hearing from Sarah Hurwitz, a speechwriter for Former First Ladies Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton and author of “Here All Along: Finding Meaning, Spirituality, and a Deeper Connection to Life — in Judaism.” She spoke to the community about her experience in speechwriting, her time with the Obamas and Clintons, and about her book, in which she writes about her journey through life as a Jewish person and what religion means to her. On behalf of the Ramah Community, we thank Sarah for her time and insight. 

Camp Ramah Conspiracies

By: Eli Bardash and Jennifer Nehrer

In kayitz (summer) 2019, Chinese President Xi Jinping had secret information regarding the future pandemic. Xi shared this classified intelligence with Ramah New England’s Assistant Director, Josh Edelglass. Edelglass, the quick thinker he is, devised a plan with his special Shoafim “It’s a Good Life chug”, in order to prepare chanichim (campers) for the onslaught of COVID-19. Edelglass and the group of Shoafimers developed what came to be known as “The Plague”, or “Quarantine Nineteen” (a reference to Swine O’Nine, referring to the swine flu pandemic of 2009.) Edelglass and the Shoafimers unleashed the unpleasant (but not deadly) stomach bug upon the machane (camp) early in the summer of 2019. Little did the camp know, Quarantine Nineteen was meant to prepare us for the days of 2020. Even though Machon etgar 2019 was cancelled due to the bug, we can all thank the mindful thinking of Edelglass and his crew as the reason that many Ramahniks did not go crazy during the COVID-19 pandemic and were prepared for dealing with camp and a virus.

Every kayitz, campers enjoy their time at camp and all it entails. However, when asked “what is your favorite part of camp?” many chanichim come up blank. And yet, there is one thing that everyone, without question, looks forward to at camp. Is it Shabbat? The quality time with friends that we see only once a year? Is it Six Flags? NO! The one thing that every camper looks forward to is… the Sif? Why is the Sifriyah the most revered building at camp? It has the eternally famous “Sif Water,” that every camper runs to collect in the midst of a hot day and drinks with pure bliss on their face. It has the “Sif Basement,” every camper’s favorite Limud location and storage facility to many odd camp relics. And above all, unlike many spaces at camp, it has air conditioning; making even the many rooms on the ground level of this building a preferred meeting spot. The Sif is a welcome safe haven for campers to gather in during any day at the machane. So how did all of this goodness get to one spot in all of camp? It’s obvious! What else does the Sifriyah have? Books! Texts from both Judaic and Secular origins! The Sifriyah was put together by Camp Ramah’s founders as a ploy to influence READING during the summer! Or, as many school-age kids dread to call it, summer reading! 

This Week’s Challenge

By: Jess Nassau

This week we are posing a challenge to the Ramah community to guess who these adorable babies are on our Niv News team! Take your shot at matching the photo to the correct name! Correct answers will be displayed at the end of the Nivoroosletter!

Eli Bardash   – A
Eve Mullen – B
Naomi Stillman – C
Brandon Portnoy – D
Sean Rich – E
Gideon Rone       – F
Tovah Blumenfeld – G
Jesse Wolf – H
Jennifer Nehrer – I










Birthday News! 

By: Eve Mullen

Before I break down the high-profile birthday announcements, here are the upcoming Nivonim birthdays. Please wish everyone a “yom huledet sameach” on their special day!

Firstly, happy belated birthdays to Abby Forrest (July 13th), and Kayla Liss and Sean Rich (July 15th)! It should be noted that Abby and Kayla are 16, but that Sean is a whole year older than them.

Today, Friday July 17th, is Dolev Farkash’s 16th birthday. We miss him extra today, especially because he lives all the way in Israel. 

On Monday, July 20th, my good friend Avital Yasmine Friedman, turns 16 at precisely 12:19 AM. She likes to recieve her birthday wishes at this exact moment. If you call or text her, don’t be late!

Thursday, July 23rd is the day our beautiful Leora Safer turns 16. Her favorite birthday activity at camp is getting cake at meals and receiving preferential treatment for 24 hours. 

Now the important people: A run down of this week’s famous birthdays. 

July 17th: Happy birthday 90th Gangsta Grandma! This TikTok and star has been shining since this day in 1929. Kali Uchis was born on July 17th, 1994, making her a whopping 25 years of age today. I don’t mean to be basic, but my favorite songs by this American-Colombian singer are “See You Again” and “After the Storm,” which are her 2017 and 2018 collaborations with Tyler, the Creator (whose birthday is March 8, in case you were wondering).

July 18th: If you’re a July 18th baby, you’re in luck. This day features quite a high-profile cast of characters, including Nelson Mandela, Vin Diesel, and Kristen Bell. My personal favorite July 18th birthday is John Glenn, who was the first American to orbit the Earth. This legend was also a U.S senator for Ohio….what a well-rounded guy! He would have been 99 this year. You can have my Shabbos brownie if you can tell me how many times he orbited the Earth in his mission.

July 19th: There are also a lot of cool people born on the 19th, but Benedict Timothy Carleton Cumberbatch outshines them all. He’s turning 44 this Sunday. All hail Benedict – I bid you good day.

July 20th: Another good day! This is the birthday of Edmund Hillary, a New Zealand mountaineer accredited with the first definitive summit of mount Everest. He made it to the top with Tenzing Norgay, a Nepali-Indian mountaineer. 

July 21: Happy birthday to Ernest Hemingway! This American author’s claim to fame is The Old Man and the Sea, for which he received a Nobel prize in 1954). The 21st is also the birthdate of Frances Cleveland, former first lady of the United States. 

July 22: Emma Lazarus was born this day in 1849. She was an American poet whose poem “New Colossus” is on the base of the Statue of Liberty! In addition, send some heartfelt birthday wishes to Selena Gomez, who is turning 28 this year. JFK’s mom was also born this day in 1890. 

July 23: David Dobrik turns 24! Daniel Radcliffe turns 31! Moses Rosen, chief Rabbi of Romania, would have been 108!


Fake News
By: Brandon Portnoy

Today in Palmer, there was a breaking and entering into one of the bunks on A-Side. The people who were caught just wanted to get candy from under the counselors beds but they didn’t ask permission. 

In other news in Palmer, there was a thunder storm that struck the agam and now it is electrocuted. The good news is that all of the fish floated to the surface and there is an abundance of food for the Chadar!

Palmer Weather by Sean Rich

On Thursday July 17, there will be scattered showers with a high of 79°. On Friday the 18th, it will unfortunately be thunderstorming throughout the entire day. The weather will luckily clear up for the weekend with highs up to 93°. The following Monday the thunderstorms will return. However, the temperature will remain in the low 90s.

How to lighten up your Shabbat dinner with 28 dad jokes.

Collected by Tovah and Abby

  1. What kind of man was Boaz before he got married….. Ruthless!
  2. *Woman giving out matza to birds*Birds: Can’t wait till this is over
  3. Knock Knock. Who’s there? Hike. Hike who? I didn’t know you like Japanese poetry!
  4. Who was the greatest financier in the Bible? Noah: he was floating his stock while everyone else was in liquidation.
  5. Does anybody need an ark? I Noah guy?
  6. How does the Rabbi make his tea? He-brews it!
  7. Knock Knock. Who’s there? Quiche. Quiche who? Can I have a hug and a quiche?
  8. I don’t trust stairs. They’re always up to something.
  9. Knock Knock. Who’s there? Olive. Olive who? Olive next door. Hi neighbor!
  10. What do you get from a pampered cow? Spoiled milk!
  11. What do you call a fake noodle? An impasta!
  12. How many apples grow on a tree …. All of them!
  13. What do you call someone with no body and no nose? Nobody knows. 
  14. My daughter screeched, “Daaaaaad, you haven’t listened to one word I’ve said, have you!?” What a strange way to start a conversation with me…
  15. A slice of apple pie is $2.50 in Jamaica and $3.00 in the Bahamas. These are the pie rates of the Caribbean.
  16. What kind of egg did the evil chicken lay? A deviled egg.
  17. Person 1: Spring is here I got so excited I wet my plants! Person 2: At least you didn’t soil them.
  18. Why did the melons get married? Because they cantaloupe!
  19. It’s inappropriate to make a ‘dad joke’ if you’re not a dad. It’s a faux pa.
  20. What’s the best part about living in Switzerland? I don’t know, but the flag is a big plus.
  21. Why couldn’t the bike stand-up by itself? It was too tired.
  22. What time did the man go to the dentist? Tooth hurt-y.
  23. How many tickles does it take to make an octopus laugh? Ten-tickles.
  24. How do you make a Kleenx dance? You put a little boogie in it!
  25. A tuna sandwich walks into a bar and orders a beer. The bartender says, “Sorry we don’t serve food here.”
  26. Bernstein walks into work one day at 9. He is very late. The boss is furious. “You should have been here at 8:30!” he shouts. “Why?” says Shapiro. “What happened at 8:30?”
  27. What did the horse say after it tripped? “Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t giddyup!”
  28. What happened when you stepped on the grape? It let out a little wine! – Jake Shoyer Boston trip 2019.

Nivonim Yearbook

In this portion of the yearbook we asked all Nivonimers to provide the Ramah community with a Nivonim 2020 quote. Here are the words of wisdom that they shared with us!

“Just make something up.” – Maiyan Suskin

I’m going to tell my campers I was a tzahov captain” – Iara Rattner

“Camp is like a box of chocolates, you’ll never know what each day brings.” – Max Schnur

“My future chanichot will think that I was a yarok captain, mini for bunk 35, lived in room 3 of the kfar, and was the lead in our machazemer. For anybody that wants to take note, my aside dance was more legendary than machon etgar 2019.” – Rebecca Safra

“A lot of sun-butter.” – Oscar Kardon

“Perfection and power are overrated. I think you are wise to choose happiness and love.” – Iroh – Johanna Lane

“No way!!” – Kaylee Fellner

“So, Ferb, what should we do tomorrow? There’s a world of possibilities. Maybe we should make a list (Phineas Flynn)” – Tovah Blumenfeld 

“I discovered at a very young age that if I talked long enough I could make anything right or wrong. So either I’m a god or truth is relative. Either way: Boohya” – Teddy Schwartz 

“I really love camp” – Jordana Benblatt

“How many danishes can we take?” – Jennifer Nehrer

“We didn’t realize we were making memories, we just knew we were having fun.” – Susan Lord

“Make the most of EVERY camp experience! Covid-19 does not mean Noniv-20!” – Ezra Greenberg

“Machon etgar was foreshadowing.” – Mischa Trainor

“A free nivonim program? awesome!  In other news, please donate to the Ramah emergency fund.” – Yael Nemeth

“The best niv that never happened” – Michal Goldberg

“Surround yourself with the people and things that you enjoy most in life.” – Benjamin Dicker

“I may not have gotten my fix of potatoes this summer, but at least I got zoom calls twice a week.” – Lily Rubin

“At the end of the day, you don’t remember sleeping” – Nina Borzekowski


“Camp Ramah: the place that produces the best memories, friends, and lessons. the place where weeks seem like days, and best friends turn into family. :)” – Naomi Hoffman

“Look around you: there is probably a Zuckerman in your edah as a camper or counselor. We are everywhere #bestcampfamily” – Sarah Lieber

“Nivonever” – Eli Bardash

“2°48’59.6″N 60°42’05.0″W” – Jacob Singer

“Give back two times what corona’s taken from you” – Heshie Liebowitz

“Life is like a potato. Without it, there is no point.” – Etai Admi

“Don’t Eat Owls” (Leviticus 11:13-19) – Avital Friedman

“You can have fun while following the rules” – Harper Dunn

“It’s been such an honor seeing these chanichim grow into a true Nivonim!!!” -Sarah Rosenfeld 

“Feeling lucky that I get to be a part of the most legendary Nivonim there ever was” – Jess Nassau

Thank you for all the submissions!


If you were curious about the baby pictures, here are the correct answers:

  1. Eli: 6
  2. Eve: 7
  3. Naomi: 5
  4. Brandon: 3
  5. Sean: 4
  6. Gideon: 9
  7. Tovah: 2
  8. Jesse: 8
  9. Jennifer: 1

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