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Photo I was just sent from Camp Massad. This was from Televisia "Hemshech". I am wearing underwear on my head. Not sure who underwear belonged to.Rochelle Garfinkel is next to me.

My Mechina year-

Memories of Camp Massad Overnights

by Rhonda Spivak, May 16, 2012


I had gone to B’nai Brith Camp for three years before I first tried Camp Massad. I remember my first Camp Massad overnight.

 We were driven in a van to Camp Morton and when I arrived at the site, I remember that the tents had already been put up--they are left up from one group to the next -so there was no work in setting up the site. This surprised me since at BB the campers had to put up the tents with the counselors. I rather liked the hassle free camping style of Massadniks.


In the evening when it was time to make a camp fire I naturally started to hunt for kindling and logs of wood.


I had learned at BB how to make a box fire and a teepee fire and began to go about collecting wood. But no one else seemed to be doing the same.


I returned to the site with my arms full of sticks and pieces of drift wood, and I proceeded to sort it.



Elliot Leven, who was a counselor, came by and asked what I was doing. I was rather surprised.


He chuckled and said, "You don't need wood to make a fire!"


I responded, "Really, then how do you propose to make a fire?"


He proceeded to take a bunch of paper plates out of the kitchen tent and some newspaper and went up to the fire pit with a large container of kerosene and lit the plates. There was an instantaneous huge blaze, and then he said, "There, that's how you can make a fire without wood."


That was my introduction to Camp Massad's fine camping skills, passed down mdor le'dor--from generation to generation.


Of course, a few minutes later, Elliot's grandiose blaze had died down as paper plates cannot sustain a fire for very long.


"Now what?" I said.


Leven was nonplussed. "Now, you just need to go and get some more paper plates!"


Later in the evening, I remember how Sophie Tapper, the Camp Administrator or some other staff from the camp would come out with a huge amount of leftovers from the dinner at camp and large pans of dessert - brownies I think. Yes, at Camp Massad overnights, one was able to get room service!


Unlike BB camp where I remember spending hours canoeing, building fires and preparing meals, at Camp Massad overnights all I remember doing is lazing around eating sunflower seeds (which were forbidden on the camp site) and singing, with some swimming in the lake in between.


My memory is that there was a store at Camp Morton and some counselors and/or campers (not me) went off to the store to get treats quite regularly. Yes, Camp Massad overnights even included a shopping spree!


I also seem to recall that the Camp's tents at the time were not all that waterproof, such if there was a real sustained serious rain, the Camp van arrived and the overnight ended early!


The convenience store at Camp Morton was the greatest part of overnights. Massadniks were their best customers of the summer. Not enough bread, butter and jam for breakfast…then head off to the store for a bag of cookies. Still hungry after your hot dog lunch….then off to the store for slushies and chips. And no overnight evening would be complete without a final visit to the store for chocolate and ice cream novelties. Ahh, those were great overnights... nobody ever went to bed hungry.



"During some years, the camp director was thoughtful enough to send a bottle of wine to be enjoyed by the counselors after the campers were asleep. So not only did Massad overnights have valet service and a shopping centre; they also had sommelier service!"


To register for the Massad on site reunion this summer go to or download a registration form at


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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.