A Day at Camp Tavor
The campers are roused from their slumber by a wake-up music playlist on the PA system and a reminder to gather with the full camp community at the toren (flagpole).
Mifkad Boker (Flag Raising)
The campers gather at the toren (flagpole), stand with their age groups, greet the rest of camp, and sing songs as the flags are raised. Once everyone is gathered together, the campers often play silly games together to begin the day with laughter and creativity. Some examples of ‘classic’ mifkad games: “will it bounce”, “here comes the one and only”, and “carry your madatz”, just to name a few…
Aruchat Boker (Breakfast)
The campers enjoy a hearty breakfast with their avodah (work) groups. Breakfast can range from scrambled eggs and hashbrowns, to pancakes, bagels, or even french toast. The kitchen ensures that there is always cereal, fruit, and sandwiches available to supplement the planned meal.
Each session, chanichimot (campers) choose an avodah (work) group and work together on a project for the summer. Some chanichimot (campers) work in the chava (farm), weeding, planting, and taking care of camp’s chickens and other animals. Others prefer to tend the trails around camp, trailblazing to keep the pathways through the forests clear and walkable. Chanichimot (campers) interested in kitchen work and food preparation can be a part of bishul, helping to peel and slice vegetables or assemble lasagna for shabbat. Year after year, campers share that doing avodah helps them feel ownership over camp, and contributes to their feeling more connected to the land and the people with whom they work.
Zman Nikayon (Cleaning Time)
After avodah (work), there is a short cleaning time in the campers’ shetach (living area) so that everyone can organize their things and relax for a little bit in their ohelim (tents) or tzrifim (cabins).
Peulat Shichva A/B (Age Group Activity A/B)
Activities divided by age group take up a large chunk of the day at camp. They usually involve an educational component paired with a fun activity to stimulate both minds and bodies. Chanichimot (campers) dress up like famous characters from Jewish history and act out a play, or harvest plants from the chava (farm) and have a sicha (discussion) about food justice in America. These peulot are firmly rooted in Tavor’s values and seek to focus on social justice, environmentalism, and help foster a personal connection to Judaism.
Zman Chadah (New Time)
This time of the day is one devoted to learning new skills. Counselors (and often campers as well!) plan and run activities that are centered around teaching new skills. A madrichol (counselor) who is a math whiz might run an activity teaching basic trigonometry. A chanichol (camper) who who plays guitar might organize a guitar circle and teach other campers some basic chords. Zman Chadash is a time to really showcase camp’s unique skills, abilities and passions with each other and enrich the greater camp community!
The next part of the day alternates between two different activities every day. Shira is the primary way campers learn the songs that we sing at camp. A group of counselors holds up a poster with the words of the song written on it and runs through the song with the campers so they can learn it. Campers and counselors sing these songs after meals, on Shabbat, and whenever else they feel like it.
Mixtape is a more a la carte sampling of musical education. Like Zman Chadash, counselors or campers will pick an aspect of music that they are passionate about and run an activity about it for the campers. Counselors have run everything from ‘Beyonce appreciation’ to flute practice to drum circles. Many of these activities take place in our cheder musica (music room) and use the recording equipment and many musical instruments we keep on hand. This is an ideal time of the day for our musical specialists to shine. Even if a camper doesn’t know how to plan an instrument there are other musical activities that they can participate in.
Aruchat Tzohorayim (Lunch)
Lunch is next. The campers sit down to a well earned meal. We ensure that campers with special dietary needs have something tasty that meets their needs. Sometimes lunch can be a little out of the ordinary at Tavor: we’ve had several funches (fun-lunches). One of the most memorable funches was a 50’s diner themed lunch where the chadar ochel (dining hall) was decked out like a diner and filled with hamburgers and fries.
Menucha (Rest Time)
Menucha comes after lunch. The campers have about an hour to relax in their shetach (living area), play guitar, journal, read, or engage in other relaxing activities. Mail and packages are delivered to the campers during this time.
Peulat Shichva C/Schiya (Age Group Activity C/Swimming)
After menucha, there is another age group activity as well as swimming time. Chanichimot (campers) swim in either our breicha (pool) or the chof (beach) along our beautiful Lake Kaiser. Sometimes a madrichol (counselor) brings a speaker and we end up having a pool dance party!
Rachatza (Shower Time)
After swimming, the campers need some time to wash off and freshen up for the next part of the day.
Shvil Yisrael (Israel Time)
Shvil Yisrael is the time of the day at Tavor dedicated specifically to Jewish and Israel education. There might be a beginner Hebrew lesson or the campers might work their way through a simulated Israeli market with a few shekels in their pocket – bartering with the stall vendors (counselors in clothes from our costume closet). Shvil Yisrael is the time during the day that campers can focus on engaging with their Jewish identity and exploring their connections to Israel, ritual, and Jewish culture and practice.
Kibbud (Snack Time)
There is a snack time in the afternoon to ensure that the chanichimot (campers) are nourished for the rest of their busy day!
Chuggim (Special Interest Groups)
Early in the session, chanichimot (campers) sign up for one of about eight chuggim (special interest groups). These are themed activity groups. Often there is a music themed group — learning songs from musicals, recording music, etc — there is usually a physical or sport -based chug as well. One of the best parts of these groups is that they are often very silly and unique. Chuggim are a great time of the day for laughter, playfulness and community building.
Zman Sport (Sport Time)
Zman Sport is another choose your own activity time. Regardless of your experience level, there is a sport for you. Counselors facilitate every physical activity imaginable: ultimate frisbee, soccer, swimming, working in the chava (farm), and even ‘ultimate reading’. Campers can plan and run an activity as well (with counselor supervision of course!).
Rachatza (Shower Time)
There is another time to shower after sport time so that the kids are refreshed and clean for mifkad erev (flag lowering).
Mifkad Erev (Flag Lowering)
Flag lowering follows a similar structure to flag raising in the morning. The campers gather together as a community at the toren (flagpole), play some silly games, and sing songs as the flags are lowered.
Aruchat Erev (Dinner)
After the flags are lowered, the campers head to dinner where they can enjoy a large menu of food (a good portion of which comes from our own farm!). There is always a salad bar as well as sandwiches so that everyone can enjoy the meal.
Chofesh (Free Time)
There is free time after dinner where kids can do more activities around camp. They can head to the chava (farm), beit omanut (arts and crafts building), the basketball courts, and other locations around camp to participate in more activities facilitated by their madrichim (counselors).
Tochnit Erev (Evening Activity)
The tochnit erev (evening activity) is a time for all of camp to come together to participate in one large activity great time for campers to meet and bond with people throughout the greater camp community.
Rad HaYom (Goodnight)
After the evening activity, all of the chanichimot (campers) join hands, stand together in a circle, and sings a beautiful and peaceful song called “Rad HaYom”. It’s a wonderful feeling to stand together as a community, wish each other goodnight and head off to bed to rest up for another unforgettable day at Camp Tavor.