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[Pages 158-160]

Summer Camps

By Yoel Zeif

Translated by Judy Grossman

The ken [branch] subsisted solely from the membership fees. It was a serious problem, as most of the parents were poor, and there were children who absolutely couldn't pay. The problem arose especially when we needed to organize the summer camps. The Hashomer Hatzair summer camps were a byword, and how could we organize them without money? I should point out that the parents usually allowed their children to go to camp and made an effort to pay their share, but there were always children who we had to exempt from paying anything.

Three or four months before the date we decided where to set up the camp, leased the land, distributed flyers to the “cells” in the area and invited them to take part. There were those that accepted, and those that decided not to.

The leadership in Kovno [Kaunas] used to send a delegate to the camp. We would sing songs of Eretz Yisrael, and the songs went from mouth to mouth and were learned. I remember that Yitzchak Poritz came for a visit, gave lectures and also taught songs. A member who came back from a nearby shtetl taught us a new song. I returned from the conference in Kovno and brought new songs from there. I will never forget how we used to sit and sing: “We are ripped, we are tattered…” or the song “How beautiful are the nights in Canaan“… We really were like dreamers then.

 

 
Activities in the forest

Standing, right to left: Yoel Zeif (top) and Goldke Melamed in elegant clothes, Tzirka Kagan, (-), Chava Shub, Zeldka Charit, Rivka Melamed, (-), Micha Baron, Rachel Blacher

Seated: Miryam Slep and her brother Micha, Sarka Melamed, (-), Itale Orlin

 

Raising the flag …

 

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