Nivonim Roosletter – July 3rd

Introducing the wonderful and talented Nivonimers who will be bringing news to you each week this kayitz!

My name is Jesse Frisher Wolf, and there is nothing that I am afraid of more than marshmallow peeps. Their cute little faces give me nightmares. My secret talent is that I am a master shofar blower and can actually hold a note as long as I want with a technique called circular breathing.

My name is Eve Olivia Mullen. I am not afraid of food, but you could say that my relationship with mushrooms is pretty rocky. My secret talent is that I can wiggle my left ear independently from my right and my right independently from my left. 

My name is Jennifer Natalie Nehrer. I am afraid of cauliflower (it’s just ghost broccoli!! Why?!) and my secret talent is being weirdly good at sorting similar shades of colors. 

My name is Brandon Fletcher Portnoy. I am afraid of fruits and vegetables because I am allergic to them and my secret talent is that I can play four different instruments.

My name is Sean Matthew Rich. I am afraid of peppers and my secret talent is standing on my head.

My name is Tovah Claire Blumenfeld. I am not really afraid of food, but I heavily dislike hearts of palm because they are just weird. My secret talent is that I can recite every line of The Parent Trap (1998) off of memory, including the handshake and songs.

My name is Eli Gil Bardash. I am 110% afraid of Brussels sprouts. My secret but not-so-secret talent is that I can answer all 197/197 countries of the world on the official Sporcle quiz.

With additional appearances from Gideon Rone, Abby Forrest, and Danny Kotelanski.

Lead by Jessica Eve Nassau who is extremely afraid of yogurt and has the ability to make a seagull noise that summons seagulls on the beach.

Camp Ramah News
By: Eli Bardash and Jennifer Nehrer

Despite not being able to gather in Palmer this year, Camp Ramah managed to kick off its online camp program, known as “Ramah Ba’Bayit,” on Monday, June 22nd. The program includes sessions for each edah (age group) that meet twice a week over the course of three weeks, special programs for Machon and Nivonim that focus on leadership, as well as other special programs that meet less frequently; such as tfilot (prayers), Shabbat programs, as well as a few extra chugim (electives), most notably the famous “It’s a Good Life” chug (elective) for Shoafim campers. As of June 19th over 400 campers have signed up to participate!

Another virtual program being run by Camp Ramah this year is the My Ramah Madrich Program, which connects counselors to families in need of childcare over the summer. Camp Ramah has provided parents with a platform that contains counselor information including experience, availability, and access to transportation which can be used to make sure that each family is paired with the perfect counselor for their needs. The childcare can be done either remotely or in person. 

Following the announcement of camp’s closure for kayitz 2020, the camp administration called out to the Ramah community for financial help. The community fulfilled their request, and within one month of the announcement, Camp Ramah in New England raised around $1.7 million, including near $840,000 in tuition replacements alone. In addition to the community donations, the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, the Jacobs and Eisen families, and the Ramah board of directors agreed to complete a “matching challenge”, where they would donate $1 for every $1 from the community, up to $500,000. Due to the outpouring of support, Camp Ramah was able to overcome the immediate short-term money crisis, but every additional dollar is still important, and donations are still coming in. Your support ensures that the Ramah community will continue to thrive for years to come.

On Friday, June 26, the fan-favorite Ramah show, GOATS and Golf Carts getting Shabbat Brownies, returned for 2020. This year, the show is held on Zoom rather than golf carts due to camp not happening. Ramah New England and Ramah DC CEO Rabbi Ed Gelb opened the show by confirming that the goats (the ones that go “baaaa”) in Palmer are alive and well! The first segment of the show, entitled “Josh and Ed go Head to Head”, featured Josh Edelglass and Rabbi Gelb debating two topics, including their favorite book. Rabbi Gelb had to exclude the Torah from the competition, because for the two of them, the Torah would be the obvious first choice. Aside from the Torah, both Josh and Rabbi Gelb agreed on To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. For the interview segment of the program, Josh and Rabbi Gelb brought in the President of Camp Ramah in New England, Stuart Katz, to talk about various Ramah happenings, and of course, to discuss Thin Mints cookies.

On Wednesday and Thursday of this week, tzevet and Nivonim had the honor of hearing from Huwe Burton, who was recently exonerated for a crime he was falsely accused of after serving 18 years in prison. He told his story and was asked several wonderful questions by both tzevet and chanichim. We thank Huwe for giving us his time and insight. 

Ivrit Flash
By: Yehuda Gubani

Pictures from Ramah
By: Jennifer Nehrer

Palmer News
By: Brandon and Sean

Among the many incredible news stories in Palmer this week, one includes a California couple making a pit stop in Palmer, MA on their cross country road trip! When it comes to Covid 19, there are currently 6,760 confirmed cases and 663 deaths in Hampden Country (in which the town Palmer is located). 

By: Brandon and Sean

This week’s forecast in Palmer, Massachusetts is mainly sunny with occasional rain storms. There is a 60% chance that there will be rain friday night, so Kabbalat Shabbat might have to be in the Beit Am Gadol, but we aren’t at camp so it doesn’t really matter. Saturday’s forecast has a 90% chance of sun, therefore Camper Staff games can proceed.  

By: Eve Mullen

These are this week’s upcoming birthdays of importance. If there is an upcoming birthday you would like to note, a suggestion, or an item of constructive criticism, please direct your requests to Jessica Nassau at Remember to wish everyone on the list a very very happy birthday!

July 4th: Post Malone turns 24 on the Fourth of July, so make sure to send him some love to keep him from feeling overshadowed by the national holiday. Malia Obama turns 21 on July 4, so feel free to direct your congratulations to her on being legal!

July 5th: In addition to Park Ji-min, who turns 22, and Jay Alvarrez, who turns 24, we must remember the important historical figures who were born on this day. In 1321, Joan of the Tower, Queen consort of Scotland, was born in a tower. A.E. Douglass, inventor of the famed tree-ring dating technique was born on July 5th In 1867, and precisely 46 years later, Jacob Soetendorp, a Dutch rabbi, was born in Amsterdam. 

July 6th: Wish 2019 #1 draft pick and American basketball forward Zion Williamson a delightful 20th birthday. Don’t forget Kevin Hart, who, being born on 7/6/79, will be turning 41 and 50 Cent, who generously shares his birthday with these other two, was born this day in 1975. 

July 7th: No one interesting was born this day, sorry. 

July 8th: If you were born on July 8th, this might bode well for your future wealth, because you happen to share the occasion with John D. Rockefeller, the richest man to live. JDR was born in 1839. Funnily enough, this day is also the birthday of Nelson Rockefeller, who is the grandson of JDR, and was Vice President of the United States from 1974-77. Even better (in my humble opinion), people born on July 8th have the great honor of sharing a birthday with Jaden Smith, who will be 22. 

July 9th: Happy birthday to Tom Hanks, and Courtney Love. 

July 10th: John Calvin, father of Calvinism and a prominent Protestant reformer and theologian was born this day in 1509. Thank you, Johnny, for Predestination. Nikola Tesla, Sofía Vergara, Sundar Pichai, and Jessica Simpson are also celebrating this day. 

Make sure to wish everyone a happy birthday!

Camp Activities
By: Tovah and Abby

Lice checks will be coming by your tzrifim, so keep your hair down to prepare. 

Swim tests will take longer than usual because of the one person per water rule.

Please contact the ropes staff to reserve night swing. 

Morning boating goes to the first tzrif to make it to the agam in a socially distant manner.

Medurah talent show winner will be the chanich that comes up with the best quarantine parody.

At 4:30 before Kabbalat Shabbat, Rabbi Gelb and Josh will be giving out popsicles at his porch. Please stay six feet apart and remain calm.

For havdalah please make your way to the A-side amphitheatre for some campwide shira and afterwards fireworks for a 4th of July celebration.

Chanichim must incorporate masks into their costumes for MFT (Mandatory Fun Time)

Bechirot clubs this week include:

  • How to clean your mask with Olga 
  • Decorate your six feet long stick at the Omanut building 
  • Spike ball with hand sanitizer will be on the B-side migrash 
  • Friendship bracelet making from a distance with the jewelry making chug
  • How to update your doar for Yom Doar with your yoetzet

Zoom offerings will be emailed to the campers that have registered.

Recipe of the Week: Mexican Lasagna!!!
By: Jesse Wolf

Camp wouldn’t be camp without all of the wonderful, delicious foods we are served in the Chadar Ochel every day. One fan favorite is Mexican Lasagna. There is absolutely not one single Chanich or Madrich that doesn’t like it, and that’s a fact!

Although we couldn’t get a hold of the real recipe, we found one that tastes just as good! This recipe will make a scrumptious plate of lasagna that the whole family will enjoy!


  • 1 pound ground Beef (Gardein, Morning Star, and Beyond all make good substitutes)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2(14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
  • 12 to 15 corn tortillas
  • 2 cups salsa
  • 4 cups Mexican blend shredded cheese


Place the ground beef in a large saute pan and cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat for 10 minutes, or until thoroughly cooked. Dump the meat into a colander and let the fat drain off. Put the drained meat back in the saute pan. Add the chile powder and tomatoes to the pan and stir until combined.

Preheat the oven to 350oF.

Spoon one third of the meat mixture into the bottom of a 9 by 13 inch pan and spread it around the bottom of the pan. (It doesn’t need to cover the entire pan; it is just to keep the tortillas from sticking to the pan.) Using 4 or 5 tortillas, form a later, breaking up the tortillas when necessary to completely cover the meat. Spread another one third of the meat mixture over the tortillas and spoon about ½ cup of the salsa over the meat. Sprinkle 1½ cups of the cheese evenly around the pan. Form another layer of tortillas and top in the same manner with the meat, salsa, and cheese. Form a third layer of tortillas, top with the remaining 1 cup of salsa and 1 cup of cheese. (This can be refrigerated overnight, if desired.)

Bake the lasagna for 30 minutes, or until the cheese bubbles. (If the lasagna has been refrigerated it will take 10 to 15 minutes longer to cook.) Remove the lasagna from the over and let it rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Thank you and stay tuned for next week’s news!

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