Dear NCSY Camp Sports Parents,
I hope you are doing well and are enjoying the dog days of summer. Here at NCSY Camp Sports we are doing our best to keep the days filled with meaning and fun. As we close in on the last week of camp, friendships have grown, sports have become more intense and we are doing our best to prepare for an intense last week of camp.
Last Shabbos we had an amazing and epic experience. We had two alumni come with their families and they added a lot to our experience. Ari Kahn, a member of the NCSY summer program board and a Harvard Law School graduate (which makes him an alumnus of two prestigious institutions) spoke Friday night and led our Oneg. He shared some great camp stories and a lot of inspirations about former campers and how they succeeded in life. On Shabbos and Friday Night we joined together during the meal for some shtick with another camp here on campus, Or Haner, which is a camp for about 50 boys from Central and South America I think this was a greta experience for both camps. On Shabbos Rabbi Cooper shared some inspirational words about Nick Walenda and his famous predecessor The Great Felipe. Feel free to ask your son if he would cross Niagra Falls on a tightrope. On Saturday Night we once again went bowling and everyone had a blast.
Sunday Morning Jeremy Lavitt, our second alumnus who came for Shabbos gave an amazing class about comparative religion. The NCSYers asked some great questions. He also shared a few stories about camp. Both Jeremy and Ari gave the NCSYers a great feeling of what it means to be in CampSports and how we as a unit will always be there for you, if you ever need any help.
Sunday night we had a 3 on 3 basketball tournament which followed a day of sports. The tournament is set up in a way that all teams need to have kids of all ages on their team. Monday was another day of sports and at night we finished the 3 on 3 contest as well as the free throw contest. Congratulations to Yehuda Spero and Kevin Rhine on winning the free throw contest and Daniel Jager, Yehuda Rosenberg and Moshe Ostriker on winning the 3 on 3 contest
On Tuesday we went to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor for an epic scavenger hunt. After the hunt everyone met at historic Federal Hill for a siyum and Barbecue dinner. Mazel Tov to Yonah Okin and Benjy Weil, who each made a siyum on a seder of mishnayos. Benjy was lucky to have his father and younger brother join us for the siyum. After the siyum we all walked to Camden Yards to watch the O’s take on the Tampa Bay Rays. In addition to the game each NCSYer was assigned a random player from the active roster and when their player did something special (i.e. stole a base, hit a home run) they received a prize. Unfortunately it was a great pitchers duel and not many prizes were awarded, but we did see a great game.
On Wednesday morning Rabbi Weil, transformed from proud father of Benjy to the Executive Vice President of the Orthodox Union and gave a meaningful class to all the NCSYers in preparation of Tisha Bav. He spoke about some of the kinnos and the Holocaust, especially the effect it has on the survivors. Everyone benefitted from his words of wisdom and I wanted to thank him for taking time out of his very busy schedule to join us. I also wanted to let you know that you can watch Rabbi Weil on Tisha B’Av as he goes through the kinnos. He is a knowledgeable and wonderful speaker and I am sure you will enjoy his elucidations. Log onto OU.org and you can see the specific times and how to watch live.
On Wednesday we had a great day of sports. As we get closer to playoffs in camp the games get a little more intense as playoff spots are on the line. I must tell you that all the NCSYers have displayed wonderful derech eretz and self control, and I will tell you as I told them, it should make everyone (including themselves) very proud. As of now the last 6 teams are divided by only two points in the standings, which means everyone can still make it to the championship with but one game left to play.
On Thursday after a great morning of learning and a short speech from Rabbi Menachem Goldberger, a local rabbi and the person who wrote the tune we sing weekly to lecha dodi each week we headed to Washington, D.C. We first went to the Holocaust Museum as a reminder about one of the aspects of tragedy that is commemorated on Tisha B’Av, and then went to the Mall to visit the Smithsonian Museums. On Thursday night we had a late night mishmar and weekly raffle, we even raffled off a Razor mini electric motorcycle!
This Shabbos, even though it is the actual date of the ninth of Av, we are instructed not to mourn on Shabbos and will do our best to make it a ruach filled Shabbos. We will then transition to a meaningful fast day followed by playoffs in sports, a second trip to Four Seasons a closing banquet and more. I will fill you in on all that happened as soon as the NCSYers head home. I know teenage boys are not known to be great communicators, so this may help.
Thank you very much for trusting us with your son. You can look forward to his return this week, probably with a hug, some stories, a good tan and a lot of laundry.
Have wonderful shabbos and a meaningful fast,
Rabbi Jon Green