Camp Zev is Back in Town

At LCM, winter break doesn’t mean you need to escape.

February 11, 2015

Kilstein organized learning contests with money towards seforim given as prizes, and LCM kollel members Rabbi Elan Segelman and Rabbi Yehuda Goldin both delivered shiurim daily. Guest speakers who came to address students included Rabbi Paysach Krohn, Rabbi Bentzion Chait, Rabbi Fischel Schachter, Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz, and Rabbi Bernard Drang. Daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as an abundance of snacks, hot cocoa, coffee, and candy were provided free of charge to the approximately 20-30 students who stayed in. Shabbos meals and hosts were also coordinated for the students.

“We have a variety of students with a variety of other-than-Torah-learning obligations – some can only learn for two hours, others for a whole morning, and others still for the majority of the day. But for all of these students, I provide a multitude of programming, aiming to let each one relax in their own way to help them feel motivated and energized,” explains Kilstein.

Kilstein, who hung up decorations every day to evoke a celebratory, “feel-good” atmosphere in the school, planned a trip this year to the Escape the Room Challenge, an interactive group mystery game in New York City that involves teams deducing clues and puzzles in order to literally “escape” from the room they are “trapped” in. He also organized quirky in-house contests: picture contests and a slogan contest (this year’s winning slogan was “Camp Zev: When the hefker room on a good day is multiplied by ten.) On the last day of the program, students were treated to a kosher comedy show, courtesy of stand-up comedian Yaakov Kilstein. The end of the program was marked with the end-of-the-break banquet, featuring multi-toppings pizza, multi-flavor French fries, and “lots of sushi,” recalls Zev.

Kilstein is himself an alumnus of LCM and currently learns in the kollel program. When students did not yet have a winter program available for them, Kilstein built one from scratch five years ago, arranging for LCM to provide primary necessities to facilitate learning Torah during these intermediary days. 

As he remarked at the end-of-the-year banquet, "It shows a lot about the characters of our talmidim when they commit their vacation time to learning. It’s very impressive.”