Shira is BACK at Camp Ramah! by Tami Arnowitz
While it’s always a pleasure to hear our chanichim campers) doing shira (singing) – whether as a peulah (group activity) or as part of tefillot – it’s a little extra sweet to hear shira this summer. For many of us, singing has been relatively absent from our lives over the last sixteen months due to the safety precautions required by the pandemic.
Here, within the safe bubble of our machane (camp), and with appropriate safety guidelines in place, campers and staff have been able to express their ruach with joyous singing.
As one travels around camp throughout the day, you can hear singing in so many contexts. During tefillot, you might hear Baruch She’amar (the prayer that opens the morning psalms), with exuberant singing and marching, or Hallelujah – Psalm 146, sung with a traditional tune and hand motions or to the famous Leonard Cohen tune. During peulot time, you could enjoy seeing our shira leaders, Hazzan Jeremy Stein and Oren Kaunfer, singing Shir Ramah (our camp song) with the chanichim, teaching new songs and even creating an entirely new song (words and melody) with a tzrif (bunk).
As we head towards the evening, you might catch shira after dinner. Our madrichim (counselors) lead the way, sharing their excitement and joy with their chanichim, singing along, showing hand motions, and forming circles and conga lines. There’s nothing quite like being with the hundreds of chanichim and madrichim from an entire tzad (side) of camp dancing around and singing their hearts out, with huge smiles covering their faces and Hebrew songs (traditional, modern and everything in between) reverberating in the Chadar Ochel (Dining Hall).
Jeremy emphasizes that “campers are hungry for shira, which both creates energy for the chanichim and is a great outlet for their energy.” In his mind, nothing compares to singing in a large group: “to be able to do this after a two-year hiatus is exhilarating!”
We are so blessed to have shira back at Camp Ramah!