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Massad staff initiate the new showers with a song
Sharon Chisvin

Massad co-presidents Mia Elfenbaum and Ivy Kopstein welcome the crowd
Sharon Chisvin

Getting ready to take a dip in Massad's pool
Sharon Chisvin

Guests gather for the shower ribbon cutting
Sharon Chisvin

Camp Massad Celebrates New Showers, Lesley Jacob and Canada Day

By Sharon Chisvin, July 6, 2010

Amid a smattering of English, Hebrew, Spanish and Russian, about 150 new and old members of Winnipeg’s Jewish community spent the afternoon of July 1 wandering the grounds of Camp Massad. The occasion for the gathering was Massad’s annual Canada Day Open House and Family Fun Day. This year’s event was augmented by two special celebrations – the official opening of the camp’s brand new shower facility, and a farewell production in honour of Lesley Jacob, who left her post as Massad administrator earlier this year.

The shower opening and ribbon cutting that kicked off the afternoon festivities gave Massad’s board co-presidents the opportunity to demonstrate their Massad style shtick capabilities. As the Massad staff sang the Hebrew song Splish Splash, written several years ago to announce the daily shower rotation during the camp sessions, Mia Elfenbaum and Ivy Kopstein stepped our of the shower building wrapped in housecoats and towels. Welcoming the crowd, they spoke about the magical quality of Camp Massad in general and the history of the shower project specifically.

“The two existing shower buildings have been on the campsite for many years,” Elfenbaum said. “In fact, one was built in the 60s while another was built in the 80s. Back then these two buildings were unofficially named, “Yam Hamelech” (the Dead Sea) and “Yam Kinneret” (Sea of Galilee), clearly reflecting the importance of Israel to daily life at Camp Massad.”

The new shower house, with separate boys’ and a girls’ sides, features 22 regular shower stalls, two wheel-chair accessible stalls, 18 wash-up sinks and four  bathrooms.

“The facility is cleaner and more comfortable, and it will provide more privacy and more water pressure than our former shower buildings,” added Kopstein. “We expect this to really enhance the camp experience for campers and staff. “

Acknowledging that “nothing of this magnitude can happen without lots of support,” the co-presidents proceeded to thank the many organizations and individuals that generously donated funds towards the project. These included the Province of Manitoba, the Asper Foundation, the Winnipeg Foundation, and the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba, as well as several individual funds within the Foundation. Community philanthropists Debbie Gray, and Marjorie and Morley Blankstein, were also lauded for their support of the showers and of Massad in general.

“It means a lot to all of us to know that these funders recognize the importance of a summer camp experience at Massad,” said Kopstein. “Attending a Jewish camp such as ours makes a huge impact on the individual campers, as well as on the secular community and the Jewish community.”

A special thank you was extended to board member Avery Spigelman who volunteered countless hours to overseeing the shower project, and making sure that all arrangements were made and all deadlines were met. Spigelman was given the honour of cutting the ribbon on the new building.

Following the official ribbon cutting and tours of the facility, all those in attendance were invited to participate in a variety of activities, among them tennis, basketball, Israeli dance and swimming in Massad’s luxurious pool. All guests were then treated to a barbecue lunch.

For the final event of the afternoon, guests were ushered into the Oolam, or auditorium, to pay tribute to Jacob.  In traditional Massad style, this tribute took the form of a play, written and performed by Massad staff in Hebrew, as all Massad productions are. The play satirized the movie Slum Dog Millionaire, with Josh Winestock playing the role of the quiz master and first year counselor Ashley Kaufman playing the role of Millionaire contestant Lesley Jacob. Following the production, past president Abe Borzykowski and current program director Cole Leinburd spoke admiringly of Jacob and her nine years of service to the camp and devotion to its hundreds of campers and counselors. 

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

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