Tsevet Sit-Down: Hanhala Part 1

posted by on Jun 9, 2017

Welcome to our Tsevet Sit-Down! Over the next couple of weeks, we will be introducing you to our diverse staff. We have an amazing group this year and are looking forward to a fantastic summer! We are starting off with our Hanhala (Senior Staff).

Or Katzman, Rosh Moomchim (Head of Specialty Areas)

Summers at TY: 5

I grew up in New York until I was nine, and then my parents who are Israeli went back to Israel. I lived in Tel Aviv ever since. I love rock climbing, traveling, and working with people and will be entering academia next year to study environmental science. I’m a vegan, and I’ll tell you, Tel Yehudah takes really good care of us veggies and vegans! It’s amazing how they will go out of their way to make everybody feel welcomed. Plus, the food is awesome!

Over the years, I’ve worked at a number of different camps and in mischlachat (delegations to work with Jews abroad)but I believe that I found a lot of my leadership here at Tel Yehudah. Every time I come back, I find new challenges that keep surprising me. This is a wonderful place to get it wrong and get it right and hold a mirror to yourself. It is meragesh (the literal translation is “exciting,” but its meaning is closer to “moving”). It’s moving to come back each time and see how I can still encounter these different challenges and work on myself as much as I’m working with other people to help them find their path. That’s not to say people come here not knowing who they are, but this place shows you that you keep on changing.

One of my favorite things about Tel Yehudah is that we are a pluralist camp! I love the fact that the flaps of the tent are open wide. They are very welcoming, I hope, and I am proud to be a part of it. It’s kind of like Israel. Though Israel doesn’t define itself as pluralist, in a lot of ways, it is. I think the more we work on welcoming everyone here, the more we can inspire it elsewhere.

Ben Freed, Rosh Tochniot (Head of Education)

Summers at TY: 10

I was a camper at Tel Yehudah from 2003-2005 and went on Machon in 2006, spending the summer in Israel with Young Judaea. I then was a tsevet member from 2007-2009 as a madrich (counselor). I also worked on the national board of Young Juedaea. I then studied journalism at the University of Texas and held a full-time position as a journalist for seven years. Afterwards, I started rabbinical school at the Jewish Theological Seminary, which gave me summers off, so I was ecstatic to return to camp last year!

One of the amazing things about Tel Yehudah for me is that included in the people here this summer are people who were campers with me, counselors when I was a camper, and people who were campers when I was a counselor. That’s a really beautiful thing. Because a “generation” of TY is only three years, you get this amazing intergenerational connection that really feeds into our ability to have mentors and mentees, to continue building relationships with people who we look up to, feel responsible for, and trust.

As the head of education, I’m excited about what we’re going to do with our Jewish experience this summer. Here, we believe in learning by doing, by playing, and by really experiencing. We think that experiences can lead to questions, so we strive to create experiences that prompt chanichim to question who they are as a Jew and come to reflect on these big questions themselves. We’re not here to give our campers the answers, we’re here to help them ask questions.