By Ella Marcovitz
I am the third generation in my family to attend a camp within the Habonim Dror Movement. My grandfather, mom and uncle all attended Mosh, so when I was visiting overnight camps to attend in the summer going into fifth grade, Habonim Dror Camp Moshava was definitely at the top on my list. It wasn’t just because I wanted to follow the tradition that my family had set before me, but I found the camp atmosphere to be unique. Even as a 9-year-old, I immediately felt a tremendous sense of community and knew that I wanted to spend my summers at Mosh.
Six years later my love for Mosh still remains as strong as it was when I was that 9-year-old girl. I am still counting down the days until my next summer– only 150 days left until camp!
Camp is community. Camp is safe. Camp is education. Camp is fun. At Habonim Dror Camp Moshava we are immersed into a transformative 24/7 environment which deepens our Jewish and Israeli culture. We have the opportunity to explore our Jewish identity through education, music, food and arts.
We are fortunate to have a wide array of different overnight camp options in Baltimore and each one has qualities that make them unique and special. At Mosh, the ideology is that everyone gives what they can and takes what they need to create a vibrant Jewish community. Being part of a Jewish, labor-Zionist, youth movement, Mosh is structured to resemble a kibbutz. On a kibbutz, everything that happens is because of the people that live and work in the community. At Mosh, this philosophy is no different and we live by the same values and beliefs.
This summer, I’m going to be a madatz, which is a counselor-in-training. A few years ago, I was watching my counselors lead activities for me and my peers and thinking about how much I wanted to be able to start doing that myself. Now, I am the one that is going to be taking on that responsibility; and I could not be more excited! During our madatz summer we get to work with different age groups and plan the activities and discussions that take place throughout the summer. First session we live in our own tents with the other members of our shikvah (age group), but second session we get to live in the cabins and tents with our campers. We learn throughout the summer and take on responsibilities that will make us stronger counselors for the following summers.
My passion for camp does not stop at the end of the summer. We have activities that take place throughout the year which I help to organize and implement. I am privileged to serve as one of the leaders of the Baltimore Ken. This initiative brings together campers and counselors that live in the Baltimore area throughout the year. Creating this sense of community year-long truly adds to the relationships that are built at camp.
Mosh empowers youth to be leaders and have ownership of their community. When all of the chanichim (campers) leave at the end of the summer they know that they have accomplished great things, and they feel empowered to take action and responsibility in their communities at home.
Camp has created a unique Jewish experience for me. My friends at Mosh agree that it is different than anything we have discovered at synagogue, religious school or Jewish day school. Camp is community. Camp is safe. Camp is education. Camp is fun. Habonim Dror Camp Moshava has provided me a place to explore my Jewish identity and embrace a vibrant Jewish community!