The Mostly True Tale of Evelyn Dragat Rubenstein!
I’ve been getting some questions about Tzad Aleph (A-Side)’s Evelyn Games, our week-long tzrif (bunk) competition happening this week. Who is Evelyn? Why do we have a week of tzrif silliness named in her honor? What’s with that painting???
We like to tell tales about Evelyn (that she was the founder of Camp Ramah; that she used to live under the Tzad Aleph migrash (field); that she founded the town of Palmer and named it after her pet guinea pig Palmer; that she once wrestled a bear for twelve hours until, exhausted, they both shook hands and went their separate ways…)
But the truth is that Evelyn Dragat Rubenstein was real. She was from the West Hartford area. Back in the late 1960’s, she was very involved in the fundraising for the old sifriyah (library complex) and classroom building. (That building no longer stands; it was in the location of what is now our Beit Midrash complex.) That sifriyah building was dedicated to her. There was a dedication plaque that used to hang in the building, along with a painting of her.
When that building was replaced, the portrait of Evelyn was saved, and she has continued to be hung in various mekomot (places) around camp. Every few years we honor Evelyn in our own goofy way by crafting camp programming in her honor, often in the form of a shavuah (week) of tzrif competition. This year, inspired by The Hunger Games, the program has morphed into The Evelyn Games. It’s a way for the hanichim (campers) to have fun and build tzrif unity by competing in all sorts of fun crazy bunk competitions all week long.
So all of that is true. The suggestion that Evelyn built the entire Bet Am Aleph in less than 24 hours using only her bare hands? Eh, not so much.
May the Evelyn Be Ever In Your Favor.