Color Blog from Haham!

SPECIAL DISPATCH!!! -By Haham Aryeh Greenberg



Color war: An eye-witness report from front lines.

Anyone who was around Sephardic Camp for the thirty hours between Wednesday 3 PM and Thursday 8 PM could feel how color war galvanized the campers. Almost every camper said Berahot with extra gusto, volunteered to lead a bit more, came together to encourage each other, to be on his/her best behavior etc. for the sake of the team or to achieve excellence. But, most of all they were “having fun”.

My role was, as usual, to be roving resource to help both teams with the “learning all the while” part. What follows is a good portion of what I saw and heard, taught and learned in the 30 hours of color war.

Camp was split up into two teams: A) Beraha Aharona (Blessings Afterwards) who were arbitrarily assigned the colors yellow (gold) and black, and B) Beraha Rishona (blessings beforehand) who were given the colors blue and green. Within an hour of the breakout of war, Laurel Aaronson approached me for theme ideas for her team banner. We came up with the verse from Hallel “the sky is Godʼs, but the earth- he has given to man” (when man makes a blessing before enjoying the fruits of this world). She and a couple little helpers went on to produce a stunning banner featuring the Seahawk logo with the blue sky and green earth done in perfect detail and the verse written in the sky in cloud white.

Next I visited the art room, the headquarter of Black and goldʼs art platoon. We came up with the gold-sheened temple in Jerusalem at the first light of day when all around is black. The appropriate verse is written in a mysterious form of old sephardic script. This striking banner (coming to a synagogue social hall near you) was made by Aleh Rappaport, Shira Puterman, and their crew.

After dinner, Blue-Green team leader Ophir Amon settled on the lively Morrocan tune of Lemivssa Al Riftah as their teamʼs Sephardic song. I ruled that, although it is not in Ladino, it was a fine choice as it would enhance our upcoming Sephardic Shabbat. They recorded me singing it at three different speeds and keys so they could learn it and teach it to the rest of the team.

At Oʼ1100 hours, the Blue-Green song-writing team, represented by Marilyn Gladstein and Marissa Almoslino picked my brain for rhymes and flows and came up with a song which include drinking “agua” and saying Shehakol first, and the humorous rhyme “turkayyy” and monayyy. Later, to my great delight, they added a line, something like “did you know we we even make a blessing over pretty people… hey judges! (wave and wink at judges).

Back at the mess hall, Lunch featured a debate where Zack Ben-Ezra pointing out that Hungry Manʼs blessing is often more heartfelt than that of Full Man. Jacob Levy pressed the point that Bircat Ammazon and Al Hamichya are from the Torah. His second point was how sublime is the blessing of a sated man in comparison to one who is hungry.

Next, the Blue-green team corralled me to work with Eli Weiss and Rafi Levi of Detroit to work on a Devar Torah. Eli Delivered it like an almost Eleven year old rabbi later that night. The theme: God gave us wheat and left man to make bread; he gave us Bircat Ammazon and left it to man (Sanhedrin) to fill in the other blessings as a supplement.

Victor Maimon had been slated to deliver the Devar Torah but he told me he was unavailable because he was going to be the finder of ten Berahot in the Zechut Yosef Siddur as part of the Apache Relay Race.

Late in the afternoon a crisis arose as the black-yellow team member who had consulted with Rabbi Hassan for their Devar Torah, was unable to complete and deliver it due to illness. Eight year old Ari Jacobs of New Jersey stepped up to fill in. I was called on to work with him on a fresh Devar Torah that he could deliver. In forty minutes time we had the piece worked out and Yoni Kintzer his counselor, drilled him on it. At the performance, he sounded like a very bright, Jewish version of one of the gang from the peanuts cartoons. It was mesmerizing.

At the presentation, a beautiful moment I saw; Rubisa Accoca who had just arrived from Vancouver, BC with her husband Rabbi Accoca and four of their children, was stunned to be greeted by black and yellow mascot Abby Tache. Abby, strikingly dressed like a bumble bee, including full black and yellow face-paint, wings etc. flitted up to her and said “donʼt worry, I donʼt sting”.

I cannot finish my report without mentioning how gratifying it was to hear two blue campers recite the whole memory game I had put together. It begins “One Bovo(fool) spouting Bavajadas(nonsense), two Vivacious Vavas…” and includes Jambazzʼs, Johas, Hadrozus, Shakadjees, Ijos Regalados, Chinchas etc. Two Black-Yellow Campers also recited the majority of the ten sentences by heart.

While the judges were tabulating, all the campers went to the lakefront where, under the full moon, John Calvo let loose a thirty minute firework show which excited big and small, American and European. Raffa Bentolila Benguigi from Madrid was inspired to start the chant “Yisrael! Yisrael!” which spontaneously morphed into the old favorite song Am Yisrael Chai and even a lusty Havva Nagila.

Freshly inspired, and with new Ladino and Tefilla skills, SAC strides toward Shabbat with reinforcements, The Accocas and Mr. and Mrs. Azose on Board. Roger and out, full steam ahead, up into the wild blue yonder etc.


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July 3, 2015 · by  · in SAC Blog · Tags:

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