CAMP 2012


This was Benjamin’s last year at Gindling Hilltop camp.  Next year he will be too old.  For the session Benjamin attended, Hilltop had two groups, Mitzvah and Halutzim.   Mitzvah was Benjamin’s age group, the kids who will not be coming back next year.  This year there were 7 boys and 14 girls in Mitzvah.  Halutzim is everyone else.  We used a combination of techniques to write down what he did at camp.  Sometimes he told me what happened and I wrote it down, and sometimes he wrote it down.


Day 1 (Wednesday): We arrive at camp. We had an activity that involved finding someone who shares your first initial.  There were 6 of us with names starting with “B”.  Apparently my counselor, Benny, was not playing.  All of us were all Benjamins (although most went by Ben.)  We were then asked which is better: desert, grassland or jungle.  We got into a big argument over whether grassland or jungle was better.  Then we went into human knot circles.  We then had a campfire where I was peer-pressured into eating my first S’more.  Then everyone went to their evening activities.  Mitzvah had an expressionless dance-off. This is where everyone is divided into pairs and you start dancing with no expression on your face.  You lose if you smile.  Then we (Mitzvah) went into the chapel.  Everyone was sitting in a circle and given a candle. We were told to stand up when we were ready.  When each person stood up, they lit that person’s candle and that person said their name and “I am a part of Mitzvah 2012.”   Then we went to our cabins and went to sleep.


Day 2 (Thursday): After breakfast, we went to Mitzvah hour.  Every (regular) day the schedule was Mitzvah hour, peulah (activities), Mitzvah limud (studies), lunch.  In Mitzvah hour, we talked about a “what would be a good last hour to have.”  I thought the giant swing would be nice.  For Peulah, I had dance.  In Mitzvah limud we were asked to pick up adjectives that described us.  When I say “pick up” I mean that there were adjectives on pieces of paper strewn about the floor and we had to pick up the ones that described us.  After lunch, the schedule is rest hour, chug (electives), free choice, shower hour, then dinner.  For chug I had olmanut (art).  During free choice, you can do whatever you want (which for me was usually nothing).  After dinner we have evening activities.  This day for evening activities, Todd Silverman (the camp Rabbi) died.  Not literally.  We became detectives and searched all over camp to figure out who killed Todd Silverman.  I think it was Ari, our song leader, but it really didn’t matter – that wasn’t the point of the exercise.  Then Mitzvah got together and had a shabooyah circle.  Shabooyah is name/introduction game.  Then we had a small Capture The Flag game.  On a side note, the music played during the meals that day was some of the best all weekend.


Day 3 (Friday): On Fridays, the first thing we do after breakfast is Israel hour, where we learn about Israel.  We discussed the Turkish flotilla incident.  There were some pro-Palestinian Turks that tried to run the Israeli blockade of Gaza.  Israel fired on the flotilla and boarded them.   They explained the incident and we talked about how the incident was portrayed in the news.    Then we went to sports and had a Mitzvah vs Halutzim prisoner game.   Mitzvah was winning most of time, but in the end no-one won.   Then we played Mitzvah vs Halutzim dodgeball and Mitzvah won 2 out of 3.  Then we had a sweaty Mitzvah huddle.  We learned some songs and dances that I already knew, we had lunch, and then I learned some more dances that I already knew.  Then nothing important happened until Shabbat.  At the end of shower hour we walk to chapel together.  The guys all line up and say something cute like “Shabbat Shalom” or “Happy Shabby” or “We love you Todd Silverman” or “Shabatosh” (which is Israeli for “Shabbat Shalom”). The girls line up and join the walk when we get near them.  Usually we walk to the chapel.  This year we walked to the plaza and had Sh’nosh.  There was asparagus, celery, cheese, crackers (no wine).  It was the best asparagus I’ve ever had.  There are these things called Shabbat-a-grams that are basically messages that you give to people on Shabbat.  Someone gave me one and said “this is for you.”  But when I opened it and saw that it was entirely in Hebrew, I decided that it was for my counselor Benny, who is Israeli.  Then we had Shabbat.  Shabbat includes the most insanely hyper song session you’ve ever seen, and then an only slightly-less-hyper dance session.  Camp is the only place where you get sweatier singing than dancing.  Then we have a Shabbat chill, where we are told to settle down and listen to people drone on about random things.  I listened to Marla read from the book “the king who rained.”  Apparently the dad from “the Munsters” wrote this book.  Then we had a cabin activity.  Mitzvah had Aaron Goldberg (the male head counselor) sing for us.  He has a really nice voice.  Then we went to sleep


Day 4 (Saturday): On Saturday, the first thing you do (after breakfast) is services, then Shabbat shiur (half-hour little lessons.)  I went to one where I listened to songs and then one where I got massaged.  Massages do nothing for me.  I wrote down that I ate bagels that day.  In retrospect I don’t know why I thought that was interesting.  Then lunch and then you have an hour of rest. Then snack.  Then two hours where the cabin does something together.  We went to the campfire and had a Mitzvah talent show.  One of the talents was a boy had caught two lizards and he taught them to play dead.  By “play dead” I mean they would just lay on their back.  Later he was peer pressured into taking a shower with them.  They were NOT happy.   I sang “the water is wide.”  We ate ice cream (because that’s what you always do at talent shows, right?)  We saw a deer that day.  As the evening activity we were told to make an advertisement for something.  Mitzvah boys had an obsession with biscuits because there is a Wu-Tang song involving biscuits, so we made out advertisement about them.   Then we had cabin activities where we were told “you are great people” if you keep being great people, this will be a great Mitzvah.  Then we had Dubstep dance session where I completely zoned out and started reading.   Then we decided to sneak out, but we decided that was a bad idea so instead we ran to the OD (the person making sure we don’t sneak out) and ran back.  We got screamed out for doing this.  Last year we did much worse and didn’t get yelled at all. 



Day 5 (Sunday): Sundays are just a regular days (See Day 2 for a description of what happens on regular days.)  This day some random Israeli came in for no apparent reason; said “Hey I’m a random Israeli” (OK, maybe not those exact words) and left the next day.  She introduced herself during Mitzvah hour.  Then we had Mitzvah limud, where we were shown a video called “the tribe” explaining how there are sub tribes in everything, especially Judiasm, but we are all part of one big tribe.  Then we talked about what God is.  There were two things said about God that were basically the same, that, in my opinion, is actually what God isn’t.  He is not an old guy with a beard (or Tarzan.)  When we are at the tables and they say they are going to call up someone, we applaud and bang on the tables.  At dinner someone had a half full glass of water and my goal became to bang on the table hard enough to upset the glass.  I succeeded.  For the evening activity we learned the moon landing was faked.  So now we have to go back there.  But of course this moon landing has to be faked too.  So we decided to swim off the end of the earth and fall to the moon.  The star paper in the picture are from this activity.  For Mitzvah cabin activity, we went on a trust walk.  We were taken blindfolded to a place and we were told to leave the area (still blindfolded).  It soon became clear we were roped in.  We were told, “if you need help raise your hand.”  People who raised their hand were taken out.  I was one of the later people to raise my hand.  We were told to think about what just happened but it was not discussed further.  The exercise was about asking for help.



Day 6 (Monday): During Mitzvah hour, after a discussion each person wrote a task they wanted someone else to do on a piece of paper.  Then we crumbled them up and had a snowball fight.  Then we each got a piece of paper from the pile.  I got the task “Don’t swear.”  That was *hard* - NOT!  I don’t remember what we did for Mitzvah limud.  For evening activity, all the counselors pretended to be old.



Day 7 (Tuesday): During Mitzvah hour we were divided into two groups.  My group went into the mitzvah lounge.  We were told to build a lego airplane and we were given directions.   We were told that if we needed a piece we would a) have to fill out a requisition form justifying our need for the piece, b) a different person had to bring up each form, c) the people with the pieces would not always be there and d) a separate form was needed for each piece (even if identical to another piece).  Also all of us needed to stand in one small area.  We started with no pieces but we could see the pieces available.  We quickly realized that not all the pieces we needed were available.   So we couldn’t build the exact airplane, we could only build a similar one.  After a bit, they closed off part of the area in which we were standing.  The first time the closed off part of the area, it was fine, but the second time, it became a little difficult to stand.  Then they took some of the pieces that we had that were not yet on the plane.  At one point, one of the counselors said we need a test flight.  Despite the fact that it was not a plane yet, they threw it at a wall and it broke.  So we had to start over.  When we got close to the end of the hour, they started handing us pieces and telling us, “Use this piece NOW!”   So we had to incorporate it somehow.  They handed us all the pieces.  So we used all our pieces and made this thing that was not an airplane, but it used all the pieces.  We did not throw it at a wall.  Then the other group came in and we presented our objects.  Theirs looked good, somewhat like an abstract piece of art designed to look like a plane.  It was symmetrical and had wings.  In the discussion we learned that the reason their plane looked so good, they didn’t have the same rules as us.  They were told build a plane and were left alone.  Their counselors went off and had a burping contest.  They did throw it at a wall, but not because the counselors told them too.  We had a discussion about living in a society with a lot of rules vs. a society without rules.  They clearly wanted us to say that a happy medium is best, but we were not willing to say that there was any goodness to our situation – in every respect the other group was better.  But that was the fault of the exercise.



For Mitzvah limud, we talked about main characters in stories like Noah’s ark and the random prostitution story in the middle of Joseph.  In my notes, I wrote “10string” or maybe “lost ring” I have no idea what that means.  In art, I made a card for Dad (see picture) because his birthday was in two days.  I gave it to him when I got back from camp.  In past years Mitzvah would go on a hike and Halutzim boys would go to Tech (the overnight camp) which would leave only Halutzim girls in camp and they would have a girls night in camp.  But this year the Halutzim boys went to tech today, and Mitzvah didn’t do their hike for a couple of weeks, so the girls didn’t get a girl’s night.  Instead there was an evening activity involving a plane crash which was dumb and boring.  Of course most of the evening activities are dumb and boring.  For Mitzvah activity (cabin activity) we danced to Dubstep.



Day 8 (Wednesday) Wednesdays are beach days.  Every beach day there is a Kahuna skit which involves Kahuna bringing out the sun.  Kahuna doesn’t wear a shirt, has paint on his chest, and speaks gibberish.  He has someone that translates his gibberish to English.  This kahuna skit was special – it was the same as the first kahuna skit that was done in the 60s, when Kahuna first joined camp.  It involved fire.  There was only one bus to take us to the beach, so it had to make two trips.  Fortunately I was in the first trip, because the second group didn’t get there until an hour after us.  It was a pretty boring beach day.  I went into the water.  Not very long and not very far, but I went in.  Then we got back to camp.  Then we had a talent show.  I sang “Sun and Shadows” (the Mercedes Lackey song.)  For Mitzvah activity, we chilled in the dining room with hot chocolate or tea.  I amused myself by stacking salt and pepper shakers into a vertical triangle.  Then we went to sleep.



Day 9 (Thursday) At breakfast, they told us if we did nice thing around camp we would get “ruach bucks” which we could exchange for nice things at dinner like soda.  This was problematic in several ways.  We thought this was like bribing us to do nice things and using soda takes away from the spirit of camp and the counselors were not good judges of people doing nice things.  I didn’t do anything to get ruach bucks, but I got some anyway.  I don’t remember Mitzvah hour.  For Mitzvah limud, Todd asked our Mitzvah counselors questions about how Judaism affects their lives, then we divided up into groups and we asked our counselors questions about how Judaism affects their lives.  Todd discussed how there had been a TV show where someone picked a random name and called them and whoever answered would get interviewed.  Once they got a 5 year old whose parents were teaching her to answer the phone. So they interviewed her. He was making the point that everyone has a story; everyone is an interesting person.  Then we had an evening activity where we spent our ruach bucks.  We were told that if we didn’t like snack we could use them to get a different snack option.  If we didn’t like dinner we could use them to get a different dinner.  That’s when I knew it was fake.  Most of the way through, they told us the snack tickets were no longer valid.  In the end they said that for all the tickets.  Then we had an “occupy Hilltop” rally.  I don’t remember what we did for Mitzvah activity. 



Day 10 (Friday) We learned about Sudanese sneaking into Israel during Israel hour. We played a Mitzvah vs Halutzim prisoner game (we won.)  Every week there are choices of what to do, Last week I went to dance; this week I went to Torah time.  You learn about the Torah portion and make a presentation to camp on the next day (Saturday).  Unlike many of the spring Torah portions, by the time camp rolls around, the Torah portions are not completely boring.  This Torah portion was Aaron’s death and we equated it to the Harry Potter story.  Aaron goes up the mountain knowing that that he is going to die, kind of like Dumbledore.  I was against doing this because it might spoil the ending for anyone who hadn’t read Harry Potter.  I equated Miriam’s death to MadEye Moody’s.  They go from place-to-place, she is buried and they go from place-to-place.  For MadEye Moody, you never see his body.  That says a lot about someone.  It’s a signal saying that he’s not important.  The fact that Moody died off screen is a pretty substantial statement.   After shower hour we had Sh’nosh with Kramer CITs, because apparently the Kramer CITs wanted to say “hi” to GHC.  Then we had services, dinner, singing, dancing and chill.  During dancing, we introduced our Mitzvah dance to everyone else.  For chill, I learned about embarrassing stories in various counselors lives. 



Day 11 (Saturday) First there were services.  We had two shiurs, but I don’t remember what one of them was.  The second one was “God and the universe” i.e., scientific things equated with God that I can poke holes in.  It was led by Jeff Don’t-know-his-last-name.  Then we were introduced to our Mitzvah project.  We then made guacamole and ate chips with it.  It was good guacamole.  We also had a pool party.  We had a small scare when I was wandering around in the cabin area and found a baby rattlesnake.  I got help and they killed it. 



Day 12 (Sunday) In Mitzvah hour, we did something that was a combination of private and group and then went into small groups and did “spill your heart out.” For Mitzvah limud we talked about random Jewish things with Todd, like marrying outside of Judiasm.  Would you do it?  Would you condone it if your son did it?  In evening activity, it looked like we were going to do “Hillstock” (like Woodstock) – people were dressed as hippies, and they started telling the story of Woodstock (with didgeridoo music!) Then Joel, the video guy, and someone else started arguing about the video.  It comes out that Joel did not back up his files and lost then entire camp video.  It was suggested that we refilm the entire video.  But we would need 100 people to do that! But we have 100 people here. So we went off to different locations to film the video.  We filmed “Banana Fork Inception.”  Banana Fork is a character which is a banana with forks sticking out of it.  I was the Banana Fork’s wife and there was someone trying to manipulate banana fork into believing he is apple spoon.  Banana Fork figures this out and reveals that he IS apple spoon and breaks down in tears.  Then we went back to the plaza to figure out what we just did.  We were introduced to the theme of Pioneer Day, which was “Hunger Games.”  That wasn’t the start of Pioneer Day, though.



  Day 13 (Monday) This was Pioneer Day. I was in district red, the Technology district (because that’s totally how they talked about the games in the Hunger Games, right?)  First, we all went to the grassy field and I ran 25 meter and did a standing long jump.  Then I went down and did some chalk drawing.  And then some speed Sudoku, but not well, because I don’t like doing Sudoku speedily.  Then I participated in Camp and Hunger Games Trivia.  Then there was a race where there was a bunch of activities where you have to do the activities to progress.  I did two of the activities, I spun around over a hockey stick, and I did a “Bear” run to the next station (you run as if you are an angry bear.)  Then we had the swimming activities and I swam across a pool.  (note to reader: you have no idea how astonished Jackie was to hear this! Benjamin does not swim in the pool at camp.)  Then we had “rage in the cage” which is ga-ga with more people and more balls.  Then we went and got some materials.  We made a diorama representing our district, where we were live actors in the diorama.  I was Steve Jobs.  In the end, green won and red came in second.



Day 14 (Tuesday) This was the best day ofthe session.  Rick Recht came to camp.  We planned our Mitzvah project during Mitzvah hour.  This was the first day of our second Pe’ulah which, for me, was Teva (the ropes course.)  Rich Recht came for our Mitzvah limud.  Then, after dinner there was a Rich Recht concert.  For our Mitzvah activity, we were sent to our cabins.  We ran to our cabins anticipating Mitzvah sweatshirts and found that it was a Treasure hunt.  We ran all over camp and ended where we started.  We were blindfold (presumably with our sweat shirts) and went on a short trust walk.  When this was over we were told “unblindfold yourselves and look at your Mitzvah jackets.”  We looked and said, “These are not our Mitzvah jackets! A) They are not purple, b) They don’t have our names on them, C) They are not even always jackets!”  Then we ran to the steps and got our Mitzvah jackets and went to bed.  Two of the counselors walked in and gave a nice talk.  Every night the staff goes to a meeting called ticker and they get really nice food.  The kids are not supposed to get this food, but the counselors brought us staff snack and told us “this never happened.”  This was July 3 so at 12:05, counselor came in shirtless and serenaded us with the National Anthem.


Day 15 (Wednesday) We didn’t go to the beach because it was July 4th. We had a carnival instead. It was pretty boring.  We ate dinner by the pool.  We watched “Ferris Bueler’s Day off”, which is a pretty boring movie. 



Day 16 (Thursday) We worked on our Mitzvah project and I finished painting my olmanut project.  There was a Lion King based evening activity which was the most boring of any of the evening activities. 


Day 17 (Friday) We worked on our Mitzvah project.  We had Shabbat.  For Israel hour, we learned about a guy who made portraits of other people with everyday items for symbolism.    So each cabin was given a person to be the subject of a portrait.  Our cabin was given Hanoch Levin, an Israeli playwright.  We were told that one of his plays featured a guy who was displayed on pole in an inappropriate manner. This was definitely a case of TMI and we were at a loss on how to represent the playwright.  Our cabin made a portrait that had symbolism about the pole, but we didn’t mention it when we presented it to the camp.  After that we had Shabbat.  We had a Shabbat chill, where two counselors, sisters, gave a talk about what would have happened if they had written Harry Potter instead of J.K Rowling.  They said that, first of all, his name would have been Gerome Fighter.  They also criticized the scene with the snake at the zoo talking to Harry.  Then we went to the grassy field (the HAC) and held a broom by the end with the broom end in the air and spun around, then threw the broom on the ground and jumped over it. Then we lined up, spun around a bunch of times and then tried to run to the edge of the field.  I thought the broom one was easy, but on the second one, I fell over.  Then we did the second one again, but after spinning we hopped, and then spun again and then ran to the edge.   This time I managed to hop, but I hopped into the side of the HAC


Day 18 (Saturday) This was the most important Saturday of camp: Mitzvah night. On Mitzvah night, alumni from every Mitzvah in camp history are invited to come to camp and do their Mitzvah cheers and just say hi for a night. This includes people from the 1960s, although there are usually only one or two people from back then (because while they are invited, most of the people from the Mitzvahs before 2000 don’t come). That’s Jonathan in the picture, third from the right.  However, this only happened around dinner time. Until then, our Mitzvah worked on our Mitzvah project—and finished it, finally! To celebrate, we then went to the grassy field wearing white clothes we didn’t care about and tossed paint at each other. After this went on, and after we went around camp giving random people hugs, we went back to take a shower. By the end of shower hour, there was no hot water left in the showers at all. Then, Mitzvah night started, and I said “Hi” to Jonathan and Daniel and various other people who I knew from past years. Because we both had purple Mitzvah jackets that said “Zev” on the back, Jonathan and I started off Mitzvah night by switching jackets, although we switched back by the time we said our cheers. After Mitzvah night, we went to sleep, although not for very long. We were going on our Mitzvah hike the next day, and therefore we would have to wake at 3:30 in the morning to get going on time.


Day 19 (Sunday) Apparently, we didn’t need to wake up at 3:30. Waking up at 4:00 was just as good. We found this out because, even though we set alarms, none of us actually woke up to them and our camp director had to come in to wake us up. After a quick breakfast, we were on our way.  After a bus ride which felt like we were driving up Masada, we arrived at our destination. Our journey was started by a natural byproduct of such a winding journey -- one girl threw up. Other than that, we had no medical problems in the entire hike. This was very fortunate, because “hike” was a very accurate description of what we were doing. This was not a stroll!  We hiked 10.7 miles that day. However, it was worth it. At one point we hiked to the highest point in the Santa Monica Mountains. We then hiked down to a place that had a very odd water fountain.  It would fluctuate: sometimes it would send a lot of water into the air, and at other times it would be just a dribble. We then stopped at our campsite for a while, where I read from (someone else’s book) Blink by Malcolm Gladwell. After that small break it was back to hiking, and a little rock hopping, which was fun. We went to “the grotto”, which was a small pool of very cold water. We played around catching salamanders (well, only one of us tried that, and he failed) and getting scared of ticks (I think we decided that there were none, despite worries to the contrary while in the grotto) and just plain getting in the water, which was pretty hard because of how cold it was. All in all, it was very fun. After we hiked back, we played a game which involved saying things like “Nineteen forty eight” and other completely random phrases which quickly became Mitzvah inside jokes just because of how stupid they were. The girls went to the guy counselors and the guys went to the girl counselors.  We had an “ask the 20-year-old girl” session (and we were a bunch of 15 year old guys.) You can guess how that turned out. At this point, we turned around a few times to see a fox rooting around our campsite. It came 5 or 6 times, and we nicknamed it “Fantasma” (just ‘cause.) It became another Mitzvah inside joke. Then we had s’mores (or, in my case, chocolate and graham crackers) and then got in a circle and detailed the plot of The Human Centipede and then went to sleep.



Day 20 (Monday)The next day, it was back on the bus to go into the city. We went to SOVA! Then we realized there were no bathrooms there, so we went to a different SOVA site (the first site was just a warehouse) and spent like an hour going to the bathroom before we could start working. We went back to the warehouse and spent the day filling and organizing and labeling boxes of stuff. Yet another Mitzvah inside joke was created here when we noticed that quite a lot of the stuff was the same brand: Gefen. There were Gefen cookies of pretty much every variety as long as they were kosher and gluten-free; there were Gefen juice boxes; there was Gefen Matzah brie; and Gefen pretty much everything else too. Anyway, I was breaking the useless boxes outside near the recycling until I noticed how hot it was. At this point I started alternating helping inside with filling, organizing, and labeling, and then helping break boxes for a while. It was fun. Then we went to the beach. The beach water was very warm for the Pacific Ocean: it reminded me of Costa Rica water, although that might have been just me accidentally comparing the water to the water in the grotto. However, it was a cold windy day, so I didn’t go into the water very much. After moving our sleeping bags to the campsite, and then finding out that our campsite was in a different part of the beach and moving them across the entire beach to find the new campsite, we had dinner. We had steak and corn (which, due to finally getting my braces off, I could actually eat!)  It was the best meal ever served at camp, period. The only bad thing is that the supports for the bench we were sitting on to eat our steak kept bending sideways,  and that meant that as more people got on the bench, the lower the bench got. By the time there was an open space at a different table, I had been at eye level with my plate for a while. Then, after my three pieces of steak, we gathered behind the table (which really made a better window than a door). One girl was having a birthday, so the ones who were behind the table gave her the least surprising surprise birthday party, pretty much ever.  We brought out a cake, but there was too much for one slice for everyone and not enough for two slices for everyone, so we were at a loss with what to do with the part remaining after everyone’s first slice. In the end, the birthday girl solved this issue by (I’m unclear if she meant to do this) slamming her face into the cake. It meant that all that was left were some crumbs, so the rest of the vultures—I mean Mitzvah—scooped them up. After she cleaned her face, we were told that there is some person who was pretending to be past Hilltop staff, and to be wary of him. We then went around the circle and answered simple questions like “Who is closest to you? When do you feel truly happy?” At this point the Mitzvah counselors effectively went to sleep, and the campers started a “truth or dare” session which really was a “dare or dare” session. After this, everyone split into co-ed pairs and did what they wanted to. I went to sleep.



Day 21 (Tuesday) The next day, we hiked back. Nothing much happened on the way back, although we almost got lost. We hiked up and were embraced by the rest of camp—metaphorically. Really, the rest of camp said “Hey Mitzvah! We love you! Now go take a shower. You guys smell.” We got to relax for the next three hours, which was really nice because we were out of it at this point. The evening activity was “camp-ception”: we went to different “camps” to see what they would be like. That night, we slept for a full 10 hours, which I think was the longer than the total time we slept on the Mitzvah hike.



Day 22 (Wednesday) Like any other Wednesday, it was beach day. Of course, this would be the third day in a row Mitzvah spent time on the beach, but apparently that didn’t matter. I got my nails painted that day. Some people walked up to me and said, “Do you want your nails painted?” I then said, “Um, sure…” and so they painted my nails turquoise and bright red. Then, like any beach day, we had a talent show. This talent show was unique, however, because Mitzvah ran it. We made sure people signed up, and we made sure everyone who signed up was called up to show their talent. I sang a variation of “The Water is Wide.” At the talent show, one person sang an “Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood Parody song.” (Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood is a video game; this is a song making fun of a cut scene in the game. It sounds like this:  (WARNING: this video is NOT appropriate fro preschool age children)<a>) Andrea, our director, called it “the most disturbing thing ever done at a talent show.” That night, we had a Mitzvah meeting about how it went, which we later learned was basically what staff does every night at ticker. We then played night dodge-ball, and then we went to bed.



Day 23 (Thursday) This was the last normal day of the session. During Mitzvah hour, we discussed what we would do after camp ends, but I don’t remember what we decided I would do. Then, in Mitzvah Limud, Benny taught us about ăĺâä ŕéůéú, which means “setting an example.” We discussed when and why we should set an example. That night, we went through camp, backwards (due to messing with a time travel device). We also did krav magah, which is Israeli martial arts. Then, we went to bed.



Day 24 (Friday)  On Friday, we first had Israel hour. It detailed the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in a surprisingly neutral or even anti-Israel manner. I am used to camp as being incredibly pro-Israel (and a good example of this was the first Israel hour of the session), but this hour tried to portray how the Palestinians were feeling as well. It pointed out that the conflict was basically just two sides yelling at each other without saying anything: nothing gets done and everything remains as it is now. Then, we played dodge-ball and then gaga. After that I reviewed the dances of the session. At services that night, we presented our Mitzvah project (finally!). Then, I danced and sang in the last Shabbat of my camp career. For my Shabbat chill, I heard a parody of “The Raven” (by Edgar Allen Poe) as if it were a plot summary of the TV show “That’s So Raven.” Then, Mitzvah did a night swim, and then we went back to the cabins and went to bed.



Day 25 (Saturday) And so we came to the last day of the session. Sunday was going to be just an extended goodbye without anything noteworthy happening, so this was the final day of my entire life at camp. The day began well, with me chanting a haftorah portion—the only one of the session—for the first time since my Bar Mitzvah. The boys’ cabins had gotten water guns, so there was a huge water gun fight throughout the boys’ cabin area. Camp stole my nail polish (Apparently, official camp policy does not allow me to leave camp with my nails done), unfortunately, but at least I didn’t have to spend the rest of the summer with painted nails. The Israelis served pita with hummus (which was amazing) and Nutella (I didn’t like the Nutella very much). Our program director started blaming everything involved with leaving camp on Doug (the WBTC director). We packed for a while, had a Mitzvah vs. staff basketball game (which we lost) and packed some more. The last dinner of every session is a banquet, with a specific theme (the dining hall is decorated and staff dress up to fit the theme). This year’s theme was “HACMA” which, as far as I can tell, stands for “Hilltop (L)ACMA.” It involved Van Gogh sans ear and various paintings as portrayed by staff. Then, we had presentations of what various chugim had done over the summer, and it involved great dances and not as good improv. We had an amazing camp video (which is really a camp-made movie done by video chug and pe’ulah with a few montage scenes in it) which was a silent film with themes involving color, reporters, weirdness, and the evolution of movies. It was great, except for a montage scene in which I looked really stupid because he took what I was doing out of context.  We had one last Mitzvah cheer, and we went to the grassy field to do tzi’um. At that point, we said “goodbye” to everyone we could find. Then, we all split up. Mitzvah went to the Mitzvah lounge and played a game of Ask the Counselor (which went about as well as “Ask the 20-year-old girl” on Day 19.)  We watched an actual montage, and then just stayed up the rest of the night. When I went out and looked out over the mountain, I noticed that there was no way of knowing that anything other than Hilltop existed (because of how dark it was). It was very meaningful. We went to the chapel to watch the sun rise, but there was no color, so it didn’t really work out. Then, we rejoined camp and said “goodbye” one last time.