The Moshava Wild Rose Kollel was started in 1991 by then camp director Rabbi Moshe Kushner who was looking to raise the level of Torah and ruach at camp. The Kollel consisted of five members, each with a minimum of two years post high school learning and Rabbi Ari Katz from Yeshivat Kerem B’Yavneh was its first Rosh Kollel. The goal was to provide the chanichim with a higher level of shiurim than was previously possible and create an opportunity for tzevet to learn directly with Kollel members.
Over the last twenty years the Moshava Kollel has met and exceeded those initial goals and expectations. Many distinguished Rabbis have served as Rosh Kollel including Rabbi Dovid Hirsch, currently Rosh Yeshiva at Yeshiva University and Rabbi Harvey Well, the past Superintendent of Schools for the Associated Talmud Torahs of Chicago and former Rabbi of Congregation Or Torah, in Skokie. Rabbi Menachem Linzer, the current principal of Hillel Torah North Suburban Day School of Skokie, was himself a young member of the Kollel.
This year the Moshava Kollel again has five Kollel members who have each spent at least one year learning in a post high school yeshiva in Israel (two at Yeshivat Kerem B’Yavneh, three at Yeshivat Hakotel). These boys are involved in virtually every aspect of machaneh. In addition to their three sedarim a day, they teach all the chanichim (including those on the “Hill”), and learn in small groups with Avodah and give divrei Torah at daily minyanim. The Kollel runs a lively Friday Night Tish for all tzevet, which is a true highlight of the Moshava Shabbat experience. Members help prepare chanichim for their Bar Mitzvot, are available for chavrutot and even (occasionally) get on the basketball court with the chanichim. When the machaneh goes on the chutz, the Kollel goes along bringing Torah and ruach to the camp site.
Although the summer is young, we are already seeing the positive effects. At the Kollel’s first afternoon learning chug over twenty chanichim voluntarily came for an extra hour of learning. Over thirty chanichim come daily to tefilah fifteen minutes early to learn mishnah with a member of the Kollel. The summer Kollel has become an integral part of Camp Moshava and is key to fostering an environment in which “Jewish observance, Zionism, and Israel leap out of the classroom and into campers’ lives.”