Magical Days

Good morning Bais Chana! This past Friday was the preparation for all things wonderful.


Devorah Leah and Rivky’s entrance into a new year of life.


Bonfire-inspired phone bucket challenge (let’s call it #PBC), and the initiation of our phones into a weekend of captivity. A sizeable amount of us committed to handing in our phones on Friday afternoon and letting it rest there till after Shabbos.  We figured they deserved a break too.  Pictured below are the first few brave ones.


And now, we are pleased to introduce Sabina! The original brain and direction behind #PBC! (Get on it. You’re nominated.)


This past Shabbat was what we’ll call Shabbat a la Bais Chana. Cooked and supervised by us, the culinary experts. Lara made dafina (a first for most of us), a Moroccan version of cholent or stew. Emanuella mixed up some chocolate chip cookie dough. Sara Miriam made her detailed, savory chicken. Kira master minded some peanut butter-chocolate goodness. And the rest of these smiling chipmunks chopped onions, braided challahs, stirred up the rest of the foodstuff and, most importantly, made sure everything tasted okay😋. IMG_0824



Now, hold my hand as we enter the Friday  afternoon cocoon. Right down the short, whimsical path to the Artagon, you’ll find a small group of artists, heads leaning over the magic they are busily creating. They are chemists in a lab, which is to say: Artists In A Forest. No one can resist this captivating energy.  This sweet, simple serenity. Led by the freest, most passionate of artistic women.

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We ended our Friday with a short class about the holiness of the upcoming day. Tangible only when tapped into, we resolved to see differently, think differently, and act differently.


But first, to dress differently. We each served as makeup artists and fashion consultants to our cabin mates as we stood backstage, preparing to enter into the holiest day of the week.


We patiently awaited the summons of our M.C.: Sunset.  The paparazzi snapped some photos of the wait.

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We welcomed the Shabbos by discussing our favorite part of it, and found a common thread throughout: There is nothing like putting down the phone or planner or pen and sitting peacefully on the sofa and looking someone in the eye. On the 7th day, G-d rested, and He wants us to rest too.


Shabbos day was spiced up with some improv games, real, hard talk about modesty and the best food.

After Shabbos: TALENT show. (Caps intended.)


Lara rapped.


Sara plopped down on a chair, all comfy, and belted out the highest of notes.

Zeesa disney princess-ed us with her voice.

Sabina karate chopped a dance.

 Chana Rochel floated through one.


Chana K. sang and played with the voice and strum of a subdued power—-dreamy, serene, magnetic.IMG_1069

Eliana celebrated the art of walking a straight line. Tamar soul-sang to us.

Hannah recited poetry like a master.IMG_1169

Emma injected passion into every breath.IMG_1095

Rachel dug her song from someplace way beyond her throat.


Pesha and Menucha softly harmonized each other’s voices.


Shani taught us to thank G-d for everything, even a couch potato existence. Yael slammed to the tune of Rachel’s beat boxing. We stumbled to bed, awed.

Sunday was a fast day, so we woke up to learn some Tanya, laid low and cozied up in the lounge for Rabbi Friedman’s movie, Patterns of Evidence, followed by Freedom Writers, the story of racial integration into top white public schools. Watch ’em both.

What is a day without art? Food for the soul, folks. We did art today, too.

Monday was canoeing day. In Mille Laces Kathio State Park. How beautiful does that sound?

We hoisted our canoes onto the lake and rowed to the point where the water got kind of misty and the line between tree and water got blurred by the shadows. It looked like paint.


But life is not a painting. (Deep stuff.) The current was taking us in the opposite direction of the shore and only dead fish follow the current.


So we revved up our voices and dipped in our ores, syncing our yelled numbers to execute a smooth, (mostly) painless arrival at shore.



 (Thanks to Eliana and Lara’s bravery and the promised Twizzlers on the bus.)IMG_1362

We did some DM, also known as Dock Meditation.IMG_1404

(Don’t doubt us. Uncamp is the captain of all things pioneered. Look out for it in this month’s medical journal.)

And then we, y’know, laughed with people we hadn’t laughed with in the past, uh, 5 minutes?IMG_1409

Unthought of the day, delivered in this cozy living room setting:

Don’t define yourself by anything. Don’t be secure in any “talent”. Acknowledge that fact that you struggle everyday to be thoughtful, but don’t consider yourself Thoughtful. Mess up once, and you’ve undermined your whole identity. You may be someone who usually chooses good, but that doesn’t make you good. It makes you someone who makes a consistent effort to choose good. You have the capacity for both. Neither one is your identity.

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