A Glimpse Into Shabbat with Nivonim and Poconos’ Gesher

DSC_0318For their annual trip, the oldest campers of Camp Ramah in the Poconos, Gesher (entering 11th grade), traveled by bus from Pennsylvania to Wisconsin to spend Shabbat with our Nivonim. This annual trip is something every Nivonim aidah looks forward to, anticipating the coming summer when they will participate in Ramah Israel Seminar together.

This Shabbat’s theme for Nivonim was the concept of free will and God’s role in free will, and Nivonim and Gesher explored these questions together. After an energized Shabbat shirah session together Friday night after dinner, Nivonim and Gesher heard a panel of staff members answer questions and speak about their own concept of free will.

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Rosh Nivonim Jeremy Fineberg gave the D‘var Torah Shabbat morning, looking at a number of different sources that contemplate the question of free will, and what role God has in dictating our actions. Campers from Nivonim, Gesher, and Atzmayim, thoughtfully answered Jeremy’s prompted questions: if God knows what lies in our futures, do we have free will; if we have free will to make our own choices, where exactly is God?

Throughout the day, Gesher and Nivonim had many opportunities to spend time together and get to know each other. The Gesher and Nivonim boys’ basketball teams played against each other, as did the Gesher girls against a select group of Nivonim and other girl camper “all-stars.” Ramah Wisconsin proved our talent by winning both games!

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With spirited discussions on belief in God and free will, seudah shlishit singing, Havdallah, and a dance party on Saturday night, Gesher and Nivonim had a wonderful experience together. Nivonim performed their talent show dances and Gesher showed off their Rikudiyah dance, proving that as different as the scenery may be, each Ramah camp has so many similarities. Both groups look forward to seeing each other… next year in Jerusalem!

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