Shavuah Bogrim: Learning New Skills and Exploring New Talents

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Shavuah Bogrim, or Bogrim Week, gives our entering 9th graders–together with a small group of Tikvah campers–the opportunity to learn from talented professionals in a week long intensive workshop in one of these areas: video, improvisation, wilderness exploration, cooking, and comic drawing.

One group has been working this week with video, art, and performance under the mentorship of Zhenya Plechkina. This morning, campers worked with charcoal, paper, and cameras. After creating a theme for their drawing, campers drew an initial picture, took a photograph, erased the charcoal, and then drew a new picture that followed the same story line. Similar to stop-motion photography, which Bogrim explored yesterday, the campers created multiple images that “moved” and developed. One group drew a Havdalah candle with a growing flame; another group drew a girl walking first down a path, then slowly veering off.

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With Eitan Bednarsh, a number of campers are learning improvisation skills. Competing against each other, campers were split into two groups to practice improv games. Each group chose a topic for the other team to create improv skits: one side had “broken nails” and the other side had “glasses.” In pairs, campers performed skits that showed a level of thoughtfulness and humor, which the group is learning and developing.

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In the woods on our property, campers are learning about Jewish Wilderness concepts with professional Josh Lake. This morning, campers prepared pastry and apples for apple pie, which they “baked” in a pot covered in hot coals. To begin their week long project, campers learned about the concept of purification in a number of religions, including Judaism. Using their new skills of tying knots, sawing through wood, and creating structures out of the wilderness, campers began making their very own sweat lodge. Thinking about the mikvah and sukkah, Josh explained to campers how a sweat lodge combines both Jewish structures. In the days ahead they will get to put their new skills on display, and really experience the camp’s wilderness in a novel way. 

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Exploring their artistic abilities with Henry Bernstein, some campers are learning how to create comics–both art and story lines. This morning, campers worked on drawing faces. They thought about what qualities make a character, discovering possible super hero qualities that can be represented physically in their characterizations.

One group of campers is based in the kitchen of the camp director’s house. Led by Zehorit Heilicher, they are learning about making foods around one theme, or from one area of the world. This morning, campers made Moroccan food. They prepared and cooked fish and couscous, followed by fabulous Moroccan donuts for dessert. Tomorrow they’ll be moving on to Indian food. 

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Throughout Shavuah Bogrim, campers have unique opportunities like these to advance and learn new talents. They’ve also had a number of opportunities to spend time together as an aidah, building stronger friendships with campers outside of their cabins. Last night the whole aidah ate dinner together outside on Machon Point, then cheered on the girls in their basketball game against Shoafot. The week is full of unique moments, and we can’t wait to see Thursday’s water dance (a.k.a. synchronized swimming) routines that Bogrim has been working on all summer long.

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