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Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Orange Day

So my kids came home with a note from day camp that today is "Orange Day". It read:

"All Campers: Wednesday, July 20 is Orange Day! Please come to camp tomorrow dressed in at least one article of orange clothing! The more, the better!"

I didn't give it much thought, as in years past, there have been many such "theme" days in this camp throughout the summer. Maybe it was too early in the morning, maybe I was distracted, but the color orange didn't strike me as significant, even with my recent posting on the subject. I put them each in orange t-shirts and walked them to the bus stop.
That's when one of them piped up.

"Mom, do you know why the whole camp has to wear orange today?" Right away, I saw where this was going.

"Um, no, sweetie. Tell me why." So he did.

"Because the bad man who is in charge of Eretz Yisrael is kicking the Yidden [Jews] out of where they live and breaking their houses so that Goyim can go there. "

I was speechless. I should have been mad that the camp was taking the politics of their campers and parent body for granted. I should have been angry that my son used the word "Goyim". (I can't stand that word, and refuse to use it or allow anyone to use it in my home.) I should have taken issue with the characterization of Sharon as a "bad man". Instead, my son's words struck a chord. There's something about a young child's voice and innocence that takes the sharp edges off of a statement. And all I could think of was that my children must be having visions of being thrown out of their own house and watching it be destroyed so that someone else can take their place. And suddenly, it brought things home for me.
These people who are being forced to evacuate are families, with young children.
They have known only these houses, and these schools, and these yards, and these friends. Whether for the greater good, or for a naive pipe dream, these people's stability is being sacrificed for a mere glimmer of a hope for peace. And though I think that glimmer is something to keep our eyes on and pray for, I can't get the mental image out of my head of my family being forcibly pulled out of my house by soldiers bearing arms. And it isn't a pretty picture.

Though I won't be going to protests, or wearing orange clothes or wristbands today, I will be davening for a safe and peaceful ending to this awful chapter. No matter your politics, I think we can all do that much.


Blogger Lawyer-Wearing-Yarmulka said...

I don't think it's appropriate for a camp to be using its campers as political propaganda...

9:05 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Agreed. My point was more that instead of being as angry as I should have been, my kids made me see the debate from another angle. And it did me a service. Instead of being smugly pro-disengagement in my response, it made me think twice. Which is always a good thing.

9:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Out of the mouths of babes...

9:16 AM  
Blogger The Town Crier said...

I have been saying all along that it is a most distressing and difficult time for everyone involved.

But for the love of mike! For any responsible educator to indoctrinate a child with such terminology is another irresponsible - but avoidable sad fallout of this whole mess.

9:31 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

agree, TTC. That was how my post started out, as a rant against the camp. But somehow that became peripheral to what I really wrote about. I guess that's all part of blogging. Though the counselor WILL get a call later.

9:37 AM  
Blogger The Town Crier said...

I see your point clearly, especially for the small CHildren in Gush Katif,(my biggest fear has always been what to do about all the cemeteries and graves there. Also the loss of greenhouses/farms the industrial livlihood that took so many years to build up) AND YES getting removed from their homes despite the fact that it was never guaranteed to begin with is a horrifying experience no matter what the potential prospects for doing so are (and the difficulty for the servicement charged with executing the evacuation)
I try to put myself in the shoes of the child in the orange t-shirt and in my young mind's eye suddenly Ariel Sharon is just like Antiochus. That can't be good.

9:37 AM  
Blogger The Town Crier said...

One last point, most of the orange fervor in new york is a fad - a "cause of the week" if you will perpetuated by people who have very little knowlege of the history and are misinformed about the whole thing.

9:39 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

All that is 100% true. And it's why my sympathy for the settlers has not morphed into an anti-disengagement stance. But my sympathy, especially as a mother of small children, is very real.

9:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful. Thank you for this thought.

9:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

breaking their houses

Poor kids. That's a hard thing for them to be imagining. If I worked at that camp, I would have opposed discussing it in such vivid terms with young children. We've talked about it with our kids and, in those talks, I think we have been even-handed on the issue and tried not to overwhelm them.

9:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I should have been angry that my son used the word "Goyim". (I can't stand that word, and refuse to use it or allow anyone to use it in my home.)

Uh, right.

From alt.revisionism in a message entitled 'Jewish Bigotry':

Although the Holy Bible is readily available in many, many languages, the Jewish Talmud, on the other hand, is hidden and secretive and English translations, although they exist, are hard to come by. In the following quotations you will see the word 'GOY'. It serves several meanings: 'non-Jew', 'cattle', 'filthy', etc.

10:14 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

I am well aware that literally, the word means nothing derogatory. I do feel, however, that it has come to be interpreted as an epithet of sorts when coming from Jews toward Non-Jews. So I prefer not to use it. Feel free to disagree with me and use it as you see fit.

10:17 AM  
Blogger Just Passing Through said...

Mom, I think I know which camp you're talking about (I could be wrong though) and I'm surprised they did this. Knowing the political views of the institution and their usual lack of a stance on anything Israel-related, I'm surprised.

10:24 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Not sure if we ARE talking about the same camp, but in any event, I called the camp, and though the orange theme IS a pro-disengagement message, they did not officially tell the campers anything other than that it is orange day. Obviously, my son's counselor saw fit to add his own commentary, though.

10:30 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

M4, I hear your point, and I have no doubt that hearing those words from your child opened up a new perspective for you, but I have huge problems with this and the way the situation was described to your child. It is a complicated situation and it is being described in the most simplistic, ethnocentric way possible. I had a problem with my child's school sending home a flyer about a prayer vigil against the disengagement but this reeks of indoctrination.

10:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dont you mean anti disengagement?

10:44 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

" dont you mean anti disengagement?"
Yes. Thank you for catching that.

10:46 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

"I have huge problems with this and the way the situation was described to your child. It is a complicated situation and it is being described in the most simplistic, ethnocentric way possible."
I couldn't agree with you more. But as I said above, I called the camp, and the political message did not come from the camp itself. Though the fact that one of his couselors told my son that is inexcusable, in all fairness, the couselor is a 15-year-old kid that has been indoctrinated himself, I'm sure.

10:49 AM  
Blogger Jack Steiner said...

Not much to add other than I find this all to be distressing and sad.

11:14 AM  
Blogger The Town Crier said...

"the political message did not come from the camp itself."

Eh, why in theworld then are they having orange day in the first place?

11:43 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

True. But the political theme is just an undercurrent that they are not (officially) imparting to the campers. As far as the campers know (at least ostensibly), the orange theme is just for fun. I guess they'll drink Tang with lunch and get orange ices for dessert or some such gimmick. Now the fact that my son's couselor DID take this opportunity to impart the political message is a whole other story.

11:46 AM  
Blogger Air Time said...

To me, any message that the counselor says comes from the camp. They hire counselors that fit within a certain image that they want to convey.

12:24 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

I hear you, but it's a large camp, with hundreds of counselors. I'm willing to be more charitable towards the camp, as annoyed as I am about the whole incident.

12:29 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I was a day camp counselor and I don't ever remeber being told what to tell my campers. Whatever message I gave to my campers came from me. And given the fact that I was 15 at the time, that's a litttle bit scary.

3:22 PM  
Blogger Air Time said...

just because the camp doesn't tell you what to say (although I am sure they had something to say about what you wore)doesn't mean you aren't representing them when you are dealing with kids.

Ask the kids who the camp is, and they will tell you it is the counselor and head counselor.

3:42 PM  
Blogger DougieRibs said...

Just curious, mom, what grade is your child in? Wonder what level of understanding he has as to the words he was taught.

4:00 PM  
Blogger rockofgalilee said...

"my biggest fear has always been what to do about all the cemeteries and graves there."

Towncrier, How about the live people? I would think that the effect on the live people would be someone's biggest fear. I would think that if the choice was to ruin a bunch of people's lives or desecrate a couple graves that the choice would be easily to desecrate the graves.

5:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unless you know the people who run the camp read your blog, perhaps you should convey your feelings to them in person, too.

9:27 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Thanks Warren, I did. I think that had a lot to do with the camp not mentioning any political aspect to the day on the day itself.

9:33 AM  
Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Hi - A few things.

Spoke to friends throughout the whole Kefar Maimon demonstration. The most poignant story was my neighbor's arguments with a groupf of IAF helicopter pilots (on the other side of the fence). While many of them were sympathetic to the Anti-Disengagment cause, they said as follows. What do you want us to do? If we don't follow orders, we'll be thrown out of the airforce (having served already 5 years) which was a tremedous personal investment. Additionally, after being thrown out, we won't be able to get jobs in any Israeli civilian aviation industry (IAF pilots are automatically gauranteed jobs as ELAL pilots). Do you want us to throw away everything?

My neighbor conveyed this conversation to me, and I discussed it with my friends in Neve Dekalim. She very clearly said as follows. The pilots are selling their bodies for cash. Sorry for the crass terminology, but thats the fact. Money. Well, they should know that many many familes are going to be thrown out of their homes, children and all, with no real housing solutions, no real economic soltions, and and real psychological and social solutions for the families. Do you know what sort of pressure this puts on families? You live in your home for 30 years, build a community, see your neighbors (and family) get killed in terror attacks, and the only way to rationalize it to your self and your children is that you are doing shlichut for the country (After all, till a year ago, that was the official Israel line). The Cohen kids in Kefar Darom lost their limbs in terror attacks. How do you think the KIDS will feel, getting pulled out of their home - the only home they know - with the knowledge that their home will be going to the very terrorists who blew off their limbs? It took 5 years to move the Israeli animal safari to its current home in Ramat Gan - so as give the animals as easy an acclimation as possible. However, when it comes to Jews - do it as chop-plop as possible, in record time, with no care whatsoever. Really no care. Its the Jews total right to demonstrate against getting thrown out of their homes. Its the Israeli government's DUTY to give the settler's the maximum possible after the hell the government has put them through.

5:09 AM  
Blogger jon said...

After we paid for our kids summer camp we found it tough to recover! I totally agree with you!

4:30 PM  

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