Saturday, August 28, 2010

Bar mitzvah bochurim

I had the pleasure to daven today in 770 next to a Bar Mitzvah Bochur. I strongly suggest to my readers to try and find one to daven next to, as well.
Over nine years have passed since my Bar Mitzvah, and it's quite refreshing (especially during these Elul days) to see the verve and passion of a young 13 year old kid, davening with a minyan.
Do you remember when you were so excited just to start putting on tefillin? To be counted with a minyan?
Where and when did we lose it? After how many years has it changed from something cherished to a chore?
One of the things that I plan to pay more attention to in Tof Shin Ayin Aleph is my Avodas HaTefillah.
Elul of course hits us hard from all sides, and for each part of our Avodah. The different psukim which give us the acronym for Elul hint to each part of the Avodah:
"Ani ledodi vdodi li" is about our connection to our Beloved: Hashem. This represents our Tefillah.
"Inah Lyado Vsamti Lach" is about the cities of refuge. Elsewhere it says that the words of Torah are our refuge.
"[Umal] Es Levavcha ves Levav" is about us doing Tshuva.
"Ish Lrayahu Umatanos Levyoinim" is of course about giving gifts of food to our friends, and money to the poor, which represents Gimilus Chassadim.

From Chai Elul we get Chayus for the whole chodesh, and from now until Rosh Hashana is the heavy stuff. Give it all you got, and make sure you are with all the King's men when He returns to the palace!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

CGI Manalapan 5770 Staff

Oh yeah! Which one of the guys in this picture thought I wouldn't be posting it?
Everyone in the photo is attempting to perform 'The Face'. I was the unwitting originator of the face. I happened to be under hypnosis, in fact. If you were in camp, you'd understand. And yes, the hands are an essential part to 'The Face'.
If I were the browsing public, I'd get a good look, because at least one of these 13 will most undoubtedly be objecting to its publication.

*Notice the skinny black ties.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


I've moved into 1414.
It's not that bad. It's not that good, either, but you've got to look on the bright side.
Speaking of the bright side, I'll be having an Israeli Bochur move in with a mattress, in the middle of the room, beginning soon until after Tishrei. [Last year's kvutza leaves in Cheshvan, and the new kvutza comes now.]
So you can be sure I'll be posting pictures of my Israeli Bochur, and you can watch him grow! I'm pretty sure I can water him, and he'll grow, similar to a Chia Pet. I haven't picked a name for him yet, 'cause golly, I haven't even seen him! What if I choose Latoya, and then I see him, and he's for sure a Dave??

One of my first teachers told me about the days when you'd have to watch where you step in 1414, lest you fall through a hole in the floor, and land on the story beneath. I was also told he would bring his own toilet seat, whenever heading to the bathroom.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Last night, the staff of CGI Manalapan decided we needed to get together for a reunion, while most of us were still in Crown Heights. None of us had been to Basil, so that was the planned destination.
Three of us went ahead and walked in, thinking to save seats for the other four or five that would be joining us.
I walked in, and immediately felt out of place with my hat and jacket.
I tapped a worker on the shoulder, and asked him if there was space for six or seven of us, since it looked quite packed. He spoke to his manager, and the answer we got was, "Maybe in a while, there will be space."
While we were contemplating our next move, a woman came in from outside. It's hard to describe for you how I knew it, but for some reason I just got the vibe that this woman was crazy. You know, like how every restaurant has their crazy.
She asked us how many people we had, and we told her seven. "Did you make a reservation?" she asked. We told her we didn't, and how regretful we were about our terrible error. She told us she had a reservation for seven people. That meant we had a big line in front of us. "Where are your seven?" she asked us, seeing there were only three of us.
"They're coming," we told her. I then switched roles with her, and went on the offensive: "Where are your seven??!!" I boldly shot back.
"They're coming," she answered. My friend suggested that maybe we'll all get a table together, until the rest of our parties arrive.
Anyway, so we left the restaurant, and headed back towards Bank of America, thinking of a different dinner destination (alliteration, don'tchya know?).
"Come back!" we hear from behind us. Lo and behold, it was our crazy lady, waving to us. "Are you really leaving?"
"Yeah, there wasn't space," we answered.
"You're leaving just because there's no space?"
"Um... yes. And besides, I'd rather come when we have a reservation," I told her.
"No, no! I have space for you! Follow me," she said, and started walking towards Lincoln. She turned back to see that none of us had moved. "What? Don't you trust me?" She had started to turn the corner, and was appalled we weren't happily trotting behind her.
"No, we don't. I think you're going to take us into an alley and shoot us," I explained. She just laughed.
We slowly dragged our feet, playing an interesting game of trying not to be in front and closest to her, as we followed around the corner.
Hey! It was another restaurant! We were surprised as we looked around at this huge, empty restaurant, wondering if this was some treif place, or really part of Basil. She assured us it was the latter. It turns out she's part owner. Her part is about 1/60th, but she still has a part. And she hooked us up with their party room.
We had the place to ourselves, until a party of five showed up later.
We quickly ordered the Basil Fries, having heard so much about them. We were not disappointed. They were excellent!
I had heard so much about bad service, and lengthy waits for food, but we had a great dinner! The food was delicious, and came after a minimal wait. We had a great reunion, three days after camp ended, and we all made a new friend: Clara, the ([not so] crazy) lady who works there.


I'm back in the shchunah. Gotta run, though, because Psachim doesn't way for nobody.
When I have time later, I'll regale you with my tale about dinner in Basil last night, and about the last days of camp.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Last week of camp

I'm currently in Lancaster, PA.
Tomorrow my bunk is going to Herhsey Park, and Tuesday after hangin' with the Amish, we'll IY"H make our way back to New Jersey. Today we visited the Indian Echo Caverns. I didn't get to go on the tour, because one of the campers had a meltdown. He was upset we took away his phone. Trust me when I say this, we had good reason to.
I'm really looking forward to the open bar at Shmuley Volovik's wedding Tuesday night.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I'm a loser

Many of my campers think I'm a loser. Not because they know me personally. Just simply because I'm a counselor.
I was at one kid's house, and we were playing video games. I even told him I used to play Super Smash Brothers on my old N-64, yet he was totally surprised I could hold my own on his Game Cube version.
Next came Ping Pong. He was teaching me how to play as if I was seven years old. I'm twelve years older than him, but he was genuinely surprised that I could play ping pong.
Why do these kids assume because we are frum, that we cannot do anything?

Just today, we had an awesome time at laser tag. As we were setting up the teams, there were some very big guys playing with us. One camper decided we should split ourselves among the other guys, to make the teams fair. "Because we're just four kids, and only one counselor. And he's Jewish." As in, he couldn't possibly be good at laser tag. [And guess who led the Red team to victory with the most points of either team? Good ol' Bochur in Lubavitch, that's who.]

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Lake George, Lake Placid

I'm currently in Lake George, New York. Tomorrow we take our kids to Lake Placid, site of a Winter Olympics, I don't know which year. Either way, should be fun.
Last week in camp, we had an overnight, on which I slept with the kids on a hard wooden floor. They had sleeping bags; I had a sheet. Shabbos was the Shabbaton. All the staff got beds or mattresses. One of us needed to sleep with the kids. They had sleeping bags on the cold stone floor. I had a blanket, this time. Still, two nights of killing my back. This soft, plush double bed with seven pillows is definitely calling my name.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Rock the Vote

Since I have millions of readers, I want to take this opportunity to encourage everyone to vote for the following schools on the Kohls Cares thingee for facebook:
Hebrew Academy community school in margate, florida
Beis Chaya Mushka school for girls in Los Angeles,
and Cheder Chabad of Monsey.

*** Make sure to visit to find out more info for Beis Chaya Mushka***