Liat Levone, G1
Hello everyone, for those of you who don’t know me and those of you that do, my name is Liat Levone. Some of you may know me as Allegra or Raviv’s little sister, a girl in your chug, a neighbor, or maybe just some meemer that you may or may not have seen around. This past month has been both exciting and new for me as this is the first summer that I’ve gone to camp. Having not gone to sleepaway camp before, I can’t decide if my standards were really low or really high. Either way, I haven’t been disappointed.
It’s really crazy how four weeks can change your life forever. I genuinely have no clue what I’m going to do for eleven months without these crazy people who I’ve just met and who have already made such a huge impact on my life and on me as a person. I’m definitely going to miss each and everyone of you for different reasons. Some of you inspire me, others keep me on my toes, and most of you keep me laughing nonstop.
If there’s one thing I learned in life, it’s to hold on to the moments: good, bad, and everything in between. I remember reminding myself of that the very first day of camp, and in the past couple of days I remember having brief flashbacks to moments during camp that I have remembered, like dumping bottles of water on each other on a hot day that the pool was closed, or running around like crazy people in the rain, or singing with our arms around each other under the stars, or laying on the grass and just talking. Because these moments, big or small, are all equally meaningful to me. These moments have shown me what it’s like to have a home away from home and an extra extended family. Honestly, these people are more than just my friends. Friends come and go, but family lasts a lifetime. I love you all so so much and thanks for an amazing summer.
Miriam Stodolosky, G11
Hey guys! My name is Miriam and I’m from Amit’s chug in Alumim. I went to Sprout Lake second session for five years, which was of course awesome. But coming here to TY was a pretty big change. Suddenly, there were all these first session Sprouties who I didn’t know, and so many people in Yachad and Hadracha.
We all got to know each other so quickly. I made friends not just with my bunk but with kids outside of my chug and outside of Alumim. I reconnected with people who I knew from years ago. It got so that no matter where I went, there was always a friendly face.
And, I truly believe that this sense of community is the reason we come back here again and again. Whether we are at tfilot, or partying at rikud, or even just standing in line for a mango smoothie, at the makolet, we do it as a community. It makes me feel Jewish and it makes every day meaningful. We all feel it. The true magic of Young Judaea is the community.
I’ll see you all next summer.
Natalie Sabrsula, G3
Hi, I am Natalie. I am in Yachad and am in Chug Banana, or Mika’s Chug. This past session has been amazing for me and I am really sad to see it coming to an end. I am really thankful for all of my counselors and the friends I have made over these last few weeks. I think it is really cool that we all come from different parts of the world but are brought together by this amazing place.
We all came to camp with only one thing in common; being Jewish, but we end up leaving with friends for life. I know that in my chug specifically, we have a big mix when it comes to where everyone is from. We have campers that came from Sprout Lake, like me, CJ, CYJ Texas, Midwest and some kids that didn't go to a Junior camp at all. I really like having such a big mix of people because I think it has helped me open my mind to new possibilities and especially during peulot, I think it has helped me to be able to see things through other people’s eyes and through their point of view.
Sometimes, it can be hard to understand stuff if you do not feel a connection to it, or if you are just being told about it by someone reading off of a piece of paper. But all of the people here, coming from such different places, bring their own experiences to share with everyone, and that makes all the difference. Everyone here has their own story and when they decide to share pieces of it with the rest of us, it becomes part of our story too.
Being at camp is like an escape from the rest of the world, but now that it’s time to go back, I think it’s really important to remember everything our counselors and friends have shared with us and pass it on. I know for me personally, when I go home, of course I’m going to tell all of my friends about that time everyone went out in the rain and slid down the hill next to the boys bunks in Aleph and got soaked and covered in mud, but I’m also going to tell them stories about what life is like for my friends and counselors in Israel, or what it’s like being Jewish in different parts of the US, like California or Texas. While I’m super sad to be leaving camp tomorrow, I’m also really excited to be able to tell everyone at home about it and share everything I’ve learned.
Jessica Weinstein, G8
If there’s anything I’ve learned and taken from this summer, it’s that everything happens for a reason. I know it sounds cheesy, but it’s true. There’s a reason that all of us are here at TY, but most importantly, there’s a reason I was placed into my chug, Chug Mango. We are some of the craziest, most fun people camp has ever seen, and over the past four weeks, we have gotten to know each other and clicked instantly. There isn’t a better word to describe our friendships other than forever. We have all cried, laughed, screamed, and bonded together in an unbelievable way. From cuddle puddles to watching the Bachelorette and always being late (sorry Yael), we have made so many memories and bonds that will last a lifetime. Even though we live scattered all over the country and the world, I know we will stay in touch because we are all like family now, and no matter how far, family always stays together.
Mikayla Kaplan, G4
Hi everyone, I’m Mikayla Kaplan from Chug Melon.
Coming to camp this year, I was a little nervous because everything was so new and different. When I first met my bunk, and then later my chug, I immediately felt that I wouldn’t fit in. there were so many different people from different places with very different personalities. Our chug was so different to the point where one of the first days we had to stop an activity and have a talk about respect and participation. Slowly but surely, we began to acknowledge our differences, accept them, and move on. Camp gives people an opportunity to learn how to love others despite opposition. Being surrounded by people 24/7 forces one to accept the situation they’re in and be able to move past it.
This year, I’ve learned not only to adapt to my situation, but also to the people in it. Whether it’s in the middle of nowhere with a bunch of people who smell like river water, or in the forest sleeping on rocks with your best friends, each situation and each person is unique in their own way.
I’m so grateful to all of my counselors who’ve truly turned into my mentors and are always patient no matter how annoying I can be. Thank you to all of my friends who’ve been a shoulder to cry on and a constant source of happiness. I’m very confident in the bonds every single one of us has made and the friends for life that we’ll never forget.
Alex Drogin, 7B
Hi, I’m Alex, although many of you know me as Drogin. I’m in Michaela’s chug, Chug Rish Rush. Despite being broken up into three chugim, all of Hadracha shared the experience of going on trip week. During that week, we implemented the leadership skills that we learned and developed over the three year “leadership arc” that most of us went through from Alumim to Hadracha. These skills allowed us to trek to DC and meaningfully talk with senators, congressmen, and political organizations about matters that we were truly passionate about.
In preparing for our meetings in DC, I learned that being a leader isn’t nearly as easy as my counselor’s make it look. My group spent five cumulative hours before the trip absorbing information and staying up until the early hours of the morning each night in DC to make the best use of our short time with the government officials. Only with this hard work were we able to ask difficult questions and provide powerful members of government with ideas for actual legislation -- acts that would be expected from a leader.
And thus, our four day trip showed us that we can make real change. By educating ourselves, we can see our ideas come to life in the American government. For example, during both of our meetings, we asked the representatives a questions regarding hypothetical legislation strengthening background checks for gun sales. In both cases, the representative wasn’t prepared for the question and wrote it down in their official senatorial notepad. So, if in the near future legislation is proposed to add initial sobriety tests to the purchase of a firearm, that will be a change created by the 2019 Gun Safety Tikkun Group.
Max Gilyutin, 6A
Hello, I’m Max Gilyutin, and I am in Hadracha in Ethan’s chug, Chug Bakbuk. I have been going to Young Judaea camps for eight years.
This past summer, hadracha was given leadership roles in Tzedakapalooza, tikkun groups, and Maccabiah. Planning Maccabiah required a ton of hard work and effort that was executed extremely well by the captains and all of Hadracha. This included writing amazing cheers, making a ton of art, and most importantly, showing the judges and other teams our ruach. Because I helped plan Maccabiah, it was definitely the most special and fun one that I’ve ever taken part in, especially because my team won.
Also in Hadracha, we get the opportunity to lead tfilot on a daily basis, which I have helped do a few times.
Seeing past Hadrachas be leaders of the camp made me really eager to take on that role, and it was amazing to finally be able to do that.
All in all, Hadracha was my favorite year in Young Judaea, and I had amazing experiences that I will never forget.
Calanit Kram, 2B
My name is Calanit, and I’m in Ariel’s chug, Chug Zim-Zum. This is my ninth year at camp -- seven summers at CYJ Midwest and two here at Tel Yehudah. In all my years at camp I’ve picked up a lot of values that I use almost every day: friendship, leadership, family, tikkun olam, and many more. Having it be our last summer here at camp, we’ve soaked all these things as much as we could and cherished every moment we’ve had with each other.
We’ve been together through rafting, Maccabiah, rap battles, and trip week, but we’ve also been together through bad times like rain storms, stress, bear attacks, and boring peulot. And though in around ten hours all of us will be spreading out across the world, we’ll always have these memories and friendships that will be in our hearts forever. We’ll always be Hadracha 2019, Yachad 2018, and Alumim 2017. Camp is a part of each and every one of us, and we will never forget all the amazing things we’ve learned and built here.
Next year in Israel!