Jewish Life at Camp BB

  • Jewish Life at Camp BB Riback

  • Daily Prayers and Activities

  • Daily Prayers and Activities

    At the beginning of each meal, we sing “Hamotzi” (the prayer thanking God for bread) both in Hebrew and English. At the end of each meal, we sing the “Birkat Hamazon” in Hebrew. This prayer closes the eating process, as well as the process of socialization in the Cheder Ochel, which is often seen in Jewish society as a meeting place for the community. Each morning we sing the Canadian anthem at our Degel (flag pole) meetings as we raise the Canadian and Israeli flags. In the evening, we sing the Israeli anthem as we lower both the Israeli and Canadian flags. Often, during these pre-meal meetings, the campers learn a Hebrew word of the day, usually taught by our Israeli staff or any camper who has a Hebrew word that they would like to teach the camp community.

    Our Judaism rotation provides campers with meaningful Jewish thought and activity sessions. In this rotation, campers participate on a daily basis in Jewish learning, as well as religious and spiritual discussion, aimed at furthering their understanding of Jewish values and practices. Examples of activities at this rotation include sessions on the meaning behind Jewish prayer, Israeli current events and activities, thought and consideration on the existence and relevance of G-d, Jewish holiday practice and materials, and much more.

  • Shabbat PRogra

  • Shabbat Programming

    On Friday evenings, we practice Kabbalat Shabbat together as a camp. This special time of concise but beautiful prayer consists of lighting of the candles and reciting a blessing over grape juice and challah. Each child may also participate in the hand washing ritual, if she or he would like. On Shabbat, we have a Ma’ariv prayer service on Friday evening after dinner. Our prayers follow a pluralistic, non-denominational format. As a camp community, we work hard to make sure all of our campers feel comfortable with the service, and are simultaneously experiencing new styles of prayer, and learning from their peers. Each week brings a new opportunity for camper units to help run and lead prayers. The campers are able to work on this service with their coordinators and counselors, giving them a sense of responsibility and ownership over their prayer. Hebrew songs and dancing (shira and rikud) follow the tefillah (prayer) service. This fun, camp-wide sing along session gives the campers an opportunity to learn new Hebrew or Jewish-themed songs and dances.

    On Saturday morning, we have a camp-wide Shacharit (Saturday morning prayer) service, followed by a special time called “relax, its Shabbos”. During this time, campers are encouraged to relax and reflect, as Shabbat is a day designated for thoughtful, digestive, and reflective activity. On the first Shabbat at camp, we teach the children about the meaning behind the prayers they are singing. Campers get the chance to write their own prayers about summer camp and Jewish identity, as well as an opportunity to write traditional dedications in our prayer books.

    In order to say a sad good-bye to Shabbat on Saturday evening, we have a Havdallah service. At this service, we teach the children how Shabbat is different and special from the rest of the week. We sing the Havdallah prayers with a beautifully lit Havdallah candle, followed by singing our favorite camp songs along with the guitar.

  • Israel Day

  • Israel Day (Yom Yisrael)

    Each year we have an “Israel day,” a day dedicated to Israel-themed activities, programming, food, education, and celebration. Usually, on this day, each child gets a map of Israel to bring around with them throughout the day, receiving stamps at each rotation, themed as various cities in Israel. Activity areas include climbing Masada (at the rock wall), swimming in the Mediterranean (at the pool), hanging out on the beach in Tel Aviv (at waterfront), lounging in Bedouin Tents (at discovery), playing a Maccabi Tel Aviv vs. Betar Jerusalem Soccer Game (at sports), and much more. Throughout the day, we play Israeli music for the campers and teach them popular and classic Israeli songs. This year, on Israeli Day, we are planning a “Shabbat Lavan” (“White Shabbat”), just as they do in Israel. Please pack your kids a white dress, top, skirt, pants, or dress shirt to wear for this special Shabbat evening, which will be filled with falafel, rikud (dancing), shira (singing), and tefillah (prayers).

  • Hebrew Buildings

  • Hebrew Names of Buildings and Activity Areas

    At the present moment, our cabins and main buildings have signs with Hebrew names, however the names are spelled in English. We are working toward instituting new signs on each cabin and main building on camp, with names in Hebrew, Phonetics, and English. We believe that exposing our campers to the Hebrew language enhances their familiarity with the language and provides them with a stronger connection to both Israel and their Jewish identity. In addition, we would also like to start naming our activity areas in Hebrew as well as English on our daily schedule, so that these words become routine in our campers’ knowledge and vocabulary.

    It is important to us that our campers become familiar with not only the names of our cabins (places in Israel and names of the twelve tribes of Israel), but also their geographical location and significance in Israel and Israeli society. This summer, we will be running a camp-wide program on the cabin names as they relate to biblical stories and places in Israel. Each cabin name raises a Jewish value or issue in Israeli society, which will be covered through engaging programming and discussion at the site of the cabin or building.

  • Shlichim

  • Israeli Shlichim

    Each summer, we hire 4-8 Israeli staff, who are completing their year of service before being drafted to the Israeli army. As part of our camp community, they help to both teach campers about Israeli life, as well as create important bonds and connections between our Canadian staff and Israeli young adults. When the Israeli staff isn’t busy working with the campers and at the areas just like every other staff, they help run a Judaism rotation, aimed at running sessions for campers about Israel and Judaism.

  • Sessions and Leaders

  • Sessions and Leadership

    On Friday evenings, our Israeli and Judaic-enthusiast staff run discussion sessions, called sichot, for campers aged 13-16. Every Friday evening, after Shabbat festivities, the campers are given three meaningful discussion options, and can attend whichever discussion they would like to. Often, one discussion session is focused on Israel education, another on Jewish life and thought, and a third on social action. The discussions are usually controversial, and provide campers with an opportunity to think critically about their own Jewish identities and relationships to Israel. In addition to this, they are taught more about Jewish youth programming in the cities surrounding camp (BBYO, March of the Living, etc.) that they can be a part of. The LTP and CIT campers will have an opportunity to lead their own sessions during a special Shabbat during the summer. Our Jewish life manager will work with the campers in order to plan and facilitate these discussion sessions.

    In addition to Friday evening sessions, the CIT and LTP camper units have discussion sessions within their camper units, facilitated by their unit coordinators, and often center on Jewish ideals. The Jewish Foundation Teen Philanthropy Program, led by an outside of camp community member, runs one of these sessions. In addition, Jewish Family Service and the Jewish National Fund visit camp in order to run programming throughout the summer for both staff and campers.