“All campers to the Shul, all campers to the Shul,” blared the P.A. this Wednesday afternoon at Camp Gan Yisroel in Parksville, NY. The campers were instructed to say Tehillim for a missing camper, and listened to EMT Shmuly Klein, who spoke about the importance of safety. Then suddenly, BOG WAR!
There was no missing camper after all, but one of the best times in camp had begun.
Over the next day and a half, the three teams, Shoroshim, Eitzim, and Peiros, presented skits, songs, speeches, and plays explaining their team’s theme. Shoroshim – roots: Kabolas Ol – the root of avoda; Eitzim- trees; the person’s own kochos-potential; and Peiros- fruit.
After teams were split, the “shirts” – leaders of each team, including a General, 2 Lieutenant-Generals, and a Captain – were introduced, and the War was on.
Davening, bentching, even sports took on a new chayus as the judges carefully marked points for each activity. Following supper, each team presented their scavenger – a comedic skit, and then their Halacha skits, which acted out the implications of a The following day began with Tanya Ba’al Peh, as each team strove to gain the most points for completing – or exceeding – their quota.
In the morning, lineup took place in the square, followed by an especially enthusiastic Shacharis. The theme speeches were presented after breakfast, with points earned for clarity and toichen. Following learning class, each team had “team time”, a chance to learn their theme song in preparation for presenting it, which occurred after lunch. All the while, staff members from each team were hard at work behind the scenes, writing, drawing, painting, building, and rehearsing to make their play the best that Gan Yisroel has ever seen. Following rest period, the plays began.
The play of team Shoroshim was set in 1930’s Boston, and centered on a Jewish detective learning that even without a logical explanation, the Mitzvos must be kept. Team Eitzim’s play was set during the Revolutionary war, and re-enacted the true story of two Jewish brothers whose intelligence-gathering mission was crucial to the United States’ victory. Set in Europe during WWII, team Peiros’ play depicted the story of Oskar Schindler, the righteous gentile who selflessly saved the lives of over 1,100 Jews.
On Friday, amid much fanfare, the winner – Team Shoroshim – was announced, following which the judges were promptly thrown into the swimming pool.