Amir: Building Gardens, Growing Communities @ Eisner

Summer 2014 marks the second year of the Amir Project’s presence at Eisner Camp and Farmer J, Swass and friends are certainly making their presence felt. Gardens are popping up all around camp, and all of our gardens — both new and old — are yielding daily harvests. Meanwhile, at the animal farm, Re’em and Louise have taught our campers how to care for animals both at camp and on a larger scale in the outside world. Our farming team uses our gardens and animal farm as media to teach our campers important life lessons about patience, diligence, and hard […]

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JTFN @ Eisner

This session in Kesher (upper camp Limud courses), Olim campers had the opportunity to sign up for a program called Jewish Teen Funders Network. This course aims to teach teens about philanthropy and enables them to actually be their own philanthropic Foundation with the ability to distribute real funds to various organizations. The following blog post was written by the participants in this course. We are a group of nine Olimers who signed up for JTFN, a program that we agreed to take part in for the entire session, rather than switching our Kesher course every week. We started out […]

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Our Oldest Campers Bringing Hebrew to Life for Our Youngest Campers

Our Oldest Campers Bringing Hebrew to Life for Our Youngest Campers

During the fifth week of the Eisner Camp summer I was blessed to create a wonderful project with some of our oldest campers. During our Kesher class time, over the course of four days, I tasked these extraordinary teens with the job of creating a video Hebrew dictionary for the K’tanim unit…our youngest overnight campers. The group set to work brainstorming all of the Hebrew words that we use at camp that would be helpful for new campers to know…names of buildings and units, common phrases, and words used in prayer or song on a regular basis. Then the campers […]

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What I Did at Summer Camp

What I Did at Summer Camp

I love being a congregational rabbi. I love that I get to get up every morning to teach, study, mentor, comfort, and inspire. And I love that I get to do it all in the context of strengthening the synagogue, the core institution of Jewish communal life. The only thing I love more than doing that sacred work within the four walls of our temple is when I get to pack my bags for two weeks in the summer and move my rabbinate north to the idyllic setting of Great Barrington, MA and the URJ’s Eisner Camp. The contrast between […]

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Be the One

Dear Eisner Camp Community, We wanted to share with you some of the exciting things that have been going in at camp this summer. But to do that accurately, we need to turn back the clock. It started almost two years ago in Cleveland, GA. That’s when Eisner’s Olim Fellows gathered with their counterparts from four other URJ camps at Camp Coleman for their fall Olim Fellowship Kallah. The guest speaker that weekend was David Long, a father from Chatsworth, GA. David and his wife, Tina, started the “Everything Starts With 1” Foundation in memory of their son, Tyler, who […]

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Maccabiah Break 2014

Maccabiah Break 2014

During the 7:15 AM walk to breakfast, red, blue, green and gold paraphernalia ornamented the path from our cabins to the chadar ochel. Something was brewing. The meal began innocently enough: warmers rolling through the aisles, soft music gracing everyone’s ears, and breakfast time med call all provided the familiarity of a routine camp morning. Then, suddenly, all staff rose in their seats. Maybe this was it! Maybe the beautiful, camp-wide madness was all about to kick off! But, alas, the clave rhythm of Los Del Rio’s “Macarena” beating on the dining hall’s loudspeakers revealed that it was just a […]

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Walking the Walk

Walking the Walk

This past Shabbat at Eisner camp something truly special happened! We started our morning cheering on the Eisner and Crane Lake staff and campers who ran the half-marathon for Team Ethan. Ethan Kadish is a camper from URJ Goldman Union Camp who was struck by lightning last summer. URJ camps throughout North America have all joined Team Ethan in support of him and his family. All of those that ran proudly wore shirts in support of Ethan. Also our campers have been so moved by his story that they even donated leftover trip day money to his fund. Following t’filah […]

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Yom Israel

Yom Israel

Yom Yisrael was so special. It was a day that we, as a camp community, dedicated to the state of Israel, to the people of Israel, and, in that light, to our Israeli staff and campers. We began the day together, eating breakfast in our newly-Israeli-decorated Chadar Ochel (dining hall), listening to Israeli songs and preparing ourselves to a big day to come. Throughout the morning, our Israeli Mishlachat (delegation) of nearly 40 Israeli staff members (counselors, specialists and senior staff) took the lead and gave campers and staff some unique educational and fun experiences. All of camp went through four different stations, learning about […]

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Yom Tzofim 2014

Today started out like any other day at Eisner Camp: a ruach-filled rendition of Modeh Ani, a delicious breakfast of chocolate chip pancakes, and cake for those celebrating birthdays. It took a quick turn for the worse, however, when a bear threw Tzofim’s songleader, Jenna, off the stage of our beloved Chadar Ochel.  This was not the first of this bear’s attacks.  For the past week, this bear has been systematically eliminating staff members.  This was the final straw for the campers of Tzofim 2014. Immediately following the bear’s disposal of Jenna, our Tzofim campers stormed the stage, declared their […]

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Bonim Olim Buddies

L’dor v’dor, from generation to generation. This is one of the major cornerstone foundations of Reform Judaism, especially in the context of URJ Eisner Camp. There are many programs here at Eisner, highlighting the traditions and special ceremonies that have been established since the camp’s founding. The elements of passing down what is learned, from daily activities, to bunk bonding or through that of our elders, helps to enrich our camp atmosphere and makes the beauty of camp so naturally candid. Here at Eisner Camp, our oldest unit Olim, meaning “those who go up”, have special responsibilities and are held […]

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Noam Workshop

Noam Katz at Eisner

This past week, we had the pleasure of welcoming back Noam Katz into our Eisner bubble. Noam is a former Eisner camper, counselor, and head songleader, and since his time at camp has blossomed into a wonderful Jewish musician and professional. Many of Noam’s songs and melodies have become staples on camp, including “Nachshon,” “Roll Into Dark,” and “Al Kein.” Noam spent time with our songleaders and songleading chugim teaching about song session planning and other techniques to perfect our songleading. He brought a handful of new tunes to camp, including “BaMakom Hazeh,” which we sang together during Friday night […]

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Shalom Ba’aretz

Last week, we at Eisner demonstrated our support for the people of Israel with our “code red” Israel map photo. We were unbelievably excited by how well received the photograph was by our alumni, parents, fellow URJ camps, and so many others. During our staging of the “code red” photograph, song leader Alan Goodis and his Eisner Camp song leading workshop moved all of camp as they premiered their original composition, “Shalom Ba’aretz” (Peace in the Land). The song offers a collective prayer for peace in the land of Israel and also features unique individual prayers from campers. As we take […]

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