We are fortunate to have many buildings on camp that are rich with history, memories and traditions. We work hard to preserve the character of these buildings while making the repairs necessary to keep them useful and safe. Last week, with the floor of the Olim Beit Am collapsing, we called in structural engineers to take a look. These inspectors told us the foundation was beyond repair, the building had become unsafe and that they would not allow us to use the building any longer.
Even as we solemnly acknowledged the loss of this old building, we committed ourselves to preserving the Olim Beit Am’s symbolic significance and storied history. Our first order of business was to save everything we could that was meaningful to our campers, staff and alumni. To that end, we removed the plaques that seemed to be holding the walls together, and we photographed all of the murals on the exterior to capture these snapshots of Olim history. Our hope is to mount the plaques on the ceiling of the new Olim Beit Am, and to hang large-scale photos of the murals inside, giving campers a glimpse into the past. And with new wall space on the exterior and interior of the new Olim Beit Am, Olim campers well into the future will have space to create their own murals, continuing the tradition of leaving physical stamps of their legacies well into the future.
The new building will look almost exactly as the old one, just updated, with a new foundation, working windows and doors as well as a set of bathrooms inside the building.