Weekly Newsletter – September 16, 2016

 September 16, 2016  /  13 Elul 5776
Shabbat Begins: 7:04 p.m.       Parsha: Ki Teitzei
   Shabbat Ends: 8:07 p.m.         Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19 
Hello from Keats Island!
This week, our Grade 8-10 classes set off with 22 staff members for three days of fun at King David’s annual retreat at Keats Camp. As per usual, our Head of School, Russ Klein, kept us all up-to-date with the excitement and activity of our students!

Day 1 Highlights 

It was a bit different this year, leaving port without our senior students. Still, the mood was happy as our 128 students joined with our staff, including four newly arrived Shinshiniot from Israel. I am proud again to share that the crew on the boat (OK, ship) had nothing but praise for the behaviour of our students.

Upon arrival we quickly let the kids know their bunkmates and sent them off to claim space. It was time for some relaxation: throwing footballs, shooting basketballs, kicking soccer balls, and active group conversations, all while eating lunch. 

We then assigned the students into co-ed activity groups by grade – 11 groups in all – and then the Keats Camp staff took them all to various activities from canoeing, to low and high ropes, to archery, to hiking trails, field games, aerial leap, and much more.

After dinner, the students had a few minutes to either relax or to join Rabbi Berger in a minyan – and yes, we did indeed have one. Then it was 7:30 p.m. and time to head down to the bonfire area where Johnny Seguin (Music teacher) had set up shop with his Grade 10 band. Matt Dichter (Social Studies and Outdoor Ed teacher) lit the fire, and s’mores came out of nowhere. There was singing and story telling – the Rabbi seems to know a lot of stories, and thankfully he tells a great one, as does Aron Rosenberg (Drama and English teacher) who led us in a nigun.

Afterwards, we found ourselves awash in karaoke. Probably the most fun was watching performances with kids from three different grades up on stage, laughing and singing together. Sadly, the evil Head of School put a stop to all the joy, setting a 10:15 p.m. lights out with a promise of a 7:15 a.m. wake up call. 

Day 2 Highlights

Last night went a little longer for me than I had hoped. What do your children have against sleep? So maybe I felt a little inner smile when I went rapping on doors this morning at 7:15 a.m., waking up some of my new, extremely sleepy, best friends. 

After a lovely breakfast, the kids moved out for the first activity at 9 a.m. Sunshine: it just makes everything better. I walked down to the dock to watch students canoeing – literally with a couple of seals. I could sit on that pier all day, looking out at the water and feeling the warmth of the sun.

All I did this afternoon was walk around and share in the joy of people having fun (if there were people not having fun, you will not read about it here). It is just such a lazy feel, which is strange to say because people are running around everywhere; believe me when I say there is noise everywhere. There is something about shrieking that seems to be a very primal urge when dangling from a rope, which is why I do not rope dangle – I do not shriek well. One of the things that has been most wonderful to watch is the encouragement I have seen as the students have cheered and urged on their peers to accomplish so many things here. Whether it be taking a leap of faith some 50 feet above the ground, attached only by a rope connected to a harness, or struggling to advance to the top of the climbing wall tower, they have been so supportive of each other. I never get tired of seeing that, and thankfully I get to see it often.

After dinner, it was a reprise of karaoke by popular demand (I was out-voted) which was followed by choice of watching a movie, doing crafts, playing board games, etc. After the fun, it was time to chill, and as I type this kids are shrieking all over the camp – and not a rope dangler in sight.

I would like to thank Matt Dichter and Debbie Appelbaum for their outstanding work in organizing this event for us, and to the other amazing 15 staff and four shinshiniot who made this a trip to remember for our students. I talk about highlights, but I think every teacher will tell you that their highlight is spending a different kind of time with their students and seeing just how wonderful and diverse they are as individuals – education is so much more than classroom learning. A final thank you to the Keats Camp staff, and to Stacey Kettleman, who once again catered this trip, living with us every day and working long, tireless hours with her sister Rene.
Special Mezuzah Ceremony at VTT

Vancouver Talmud Torah will be holding a special mezuzah ceremony to celebrate the opening of their new campus. Come and take part in the festivities, tour the new building, visit the incredible roof-top sports field, and enjoy delicious refreshments in the newly landscaped playground.

Join VTT for this historic community occasion.

Sunday, September 25
2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Please RSVP by clicking here.
Shabbat Shalom!
Community Events

Leadership Opportunities 

Sept. 21 – Dec. 14
4:00 – 6:00 p.m.

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Federation Annual Campaign Opening Event

Thursday, September 22
7:00 p.m.

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Click here to buy tickets
JCC Parents Altogether
Heart-Mind Well-Being

Tuesday, September 27
6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

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Beth Tikvah
High Holiday Seats

Rosh Hashanah
October 3 & 4

Kol Nidre 
October 11

Yom Kippur
October 12

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Interest-Free Student Loans
Hebrew Free Loan Association of Vancouver

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Local Artisan Fair
North Shore Jewish Community Centre

Sunday, October 16
12:00 – 4:00 p.m.

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