Special T’fillah Moments From Around Camp!

Every day at Machaneh Ramah is filled with fun and sports and arts and friends, and also a powerful, joyous Jewish experience that is fully woven into everything we do at camp.  Here are some special t’fillah moments from each of the edot across camp:

KOCHAVIM: On Wednesday morning, Kochavim davened as a mini-daled for the very first time! This was a very special moment because the chanichim (campers)  that were here for mini-gimel had the chance to teach some of the new chanichim the t’fillot. We started our day with our favorite Modeh Ani tune, the cowboy version, which our mini-gimel chanichim taught to the mini-daled campers. After that, we learned a dance and hand motions to birkot hashachar, halleluyah and v’ahavta! Then, this morning, we moved on to learn el-baruch and hand motions to the Ohr Chadash!

ILANOT: This week we started a new project during T’fillot. Every few days we will be learning about one of the T’fillot and then we will be making our own siddur page for that T’fillah.  Earlier this week, we started with Ma Tovu.  We talked about the story of the T’fillah — how the prophet Bilaam was hired by King Balak to curse the Israelites but instead blessed them.  All of the hanichim learned about the meaning of the words of the t’fillah — Bilaam’s blessing.  We’ll be continuing this project for the rest of the kayitz (summer)!

SOLELIM:  At the start of this week, we played Simon Says or Shimon Omer with the phases of the moon, as the hanichim learned about Rosh Chodesh (the start of the new Jewish month — in this case, hodesh Av). The chanichim imitated the phases of the moon with their bodies as different phases were called in Hebrew and cutouts of the moon in those phases were held up. The favorite command was Likui (eclipse) in which the chanichim had to get in front of or behind one another.

SHOAFIM:  Yesterday we had an amazing guest speaker during t’fillot, Yehuda Gubani.  Yehuda came to teach us about the meaning of our edah name: “Shoafim.”  In his special, memorable and humble way, Yehuda, the legendary Machane Ramah Ivrit educator, taught us that “Shoafim” has two meanings in Hebrew. One, is the physical action of inhaling. The other is striving, either for a goal or just for general greatness. As Yehuda puts it, we as “Shoafim” strive to inhale, and inhale to strive!

AMITZIM: Amitzim had a ruach-filled t’fillot on Sunday morning, especially during the Baruch She’amar. Using our traditional Tikvah tune of “baruch she’aMARCH”, the chanichim (campers) marched around the Moadon as our madrich, Adam, played the trumpet. The addition of instruments to t’fillot really allowed for movement and creativity.

MAGSHIMIM: Magshimim has started having our most regular/frequent shlichei tzibbur (prayer leaders) lead alongside a newcomer who wants some practice. In this way those who want to learn to lead but aren’t so comfortable leading on their own can still get the experience. Huge shout-outs and yasher cokhachem to Jake Perdue and Atara Harrari for their courage in leading t’fillot for the first time this week!

BOGRIM: Before singing MiChamocha yesterday morning, Bogrim took a second to reflect on the rhetorical question “Who is like you?” We thought about all the ways we were similar to each other, but then ways that we were completely unique. While thinking about what it means to be like no other, we concluded that we each bring something unique to the edah, the machaneh, and even the world of 7 billion people! And since we were created B’tzelem Elohim, in G-d’s image, Hashem must be the epitome of unique!

MACHON: This week, Dr. Josh Kulp came into our prayers/תפילות to talk to us about תפילין (t’fillin).  In and of itself this would have been a nice moment. However, in addition to Josh’s words of תורה, we had a few dozen extra sets of תפילין in the room and all of the girls/בנות that wanted to try on a pair, got to learn how.  It was a beautiful morning of מצוות and community/קהילה. And since then,a good number of the בנות have been wearing תפילין to to our  regular services.  This ritual is clearly real and powerful and we are so excited to share it with the next generation.

NIVONIM: Today during t’fillot, before leaving for Yom Roo, we had a wonderful d’var t’fillah from Yehuda Gubani during our early-morning davening.  Yehuda discussed the meaning of Nivonim.  Nivonim means “the wise ones.”  Yehuda spoke about about how being wise and thoughtful was critical, and as the wise ones, how we had a responsibility to pass on wisdom, not just own it. After a fantastic Torah reading of parashat Dvarim and a rousing tachanun, we finished a great tefillot and headed off for Ramah Berkshires.