Kalimera – Good morning from the base of Mt. Olympus at the Greek Jewish Summer camp. We arrived yesterday after a 5 hour drive from Athens to Le Tohoro, where close to 200 Jewish youth from all over Greece are spending part of their summer. On the way up to the camp, we had the privilege of taking Rabbi Mazun from Athens who shared with us his story. As we passed the city of Larissa, he recounted the days when the Nazis came to his city and how the Italians told his family to run and to find refuge in the mountains near Mt. Olympus. His story was so powerful as we stared at the mountain that he and his family hid from the Nazis.
This morning I had the pleasure of sitting with the girls on the beach and we had a learning discussion about Tefilah. They asked great questions and listening to the waves behind us made everything that much more meaningful. The Rabbi led a learning discussion with the boys also overlooking the beach.
Today is Israel Day in the camp and last night many of our teens were helping preparing today’s actitvities. They were painting, cutting crepe paper chains, making posters, some were hanging out, etc. The activities began when a man dressed up as David Ben Gurion appeared welcoming all of us to Israel. Our teens then joined Greek and Israeli teens at the beach for a variety of team competitions. Some of our teens even served as captains, including Susie and Benjy and Gabe volunteers for everything. Our teens are learning some Greek and Noah has even learned to count to 29 in Greek…..I think 30 begins some of the more difficult challenges. Justin was in charge of firing up the dough and turning them into pitas for the entire camp as they served felafel today…..I think he wants to open a Max’s in Greece.
And, for me, some of the more emotional moments include watching kids from Greece, Israel and the United States singing Hatikva together – it is just as its name suggests – our children are the hope and our future.
One more amazing thing is that Roni led the entire older group of kids in the camp in a fantastic night activity ice breaker…..it was so much fun!
Tomorrow we are off to visit Zeus on Mt. Olympus…
Efcharisto again for raising such special kids,