The Song Remains the Same

  • I am pleased to use this opportunity to share comments from one of our active alumnus, Barnet Cohen. Barnet was a camper, CIT and Counselor at Camp Tevya in the 1980s. He met his wife, Loryn, at Tevya and is now the proud parent of a happy Tevya camper. Thank you Barnet for touching us with your words.

    It’s hard to believe that it has been almost thirty years since my first summer at Camp Tevya. My journey began in Bunk 4 (Etzion) and I have had fond memories ever since. I started as a camper, and then moved on to a counselor in training (CIT), next to a Junior Counselor, followed up as a counselor for a few years, and then a proud alumnus. To top it off, I even met my wife at Tevya and now I am a proud parent of a camper.

    The song remains the same is obviously about music, but as you will read it is about so much more. Camp was where I learned folk songs such as Cats in the Cradle, American Pie, Drift Away, and more. It was also the time in my life when Hebrew songs

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    such as Im Tirtzu, Ufaratzta, Am Yisrael Chai and many others were ingrained in my head. Most importantly though, it was prayers that we chanted together each and every day that meant the most to me. After all, who didn’t come home from camp and wonder if anyone would lead the Birkat Hamazon or be chanting Lo Alecha or Shir Ha’ma’alot.

    While attending the Tevya Alumni Shabbat this year, it was amazing to see and hear David Melech sung and have Andy Ades do the Imma/Abba & Bubbe/Zadie responsively. It certainly made me realize that the song does remain the same. When I was a child in the 1980’s it was Mark Adelman who carried out that tradition and passed it onto Mike Silverstein and I am sure multiple other people have taken on that role over the decades. We actually sung it “Tevya Style” even at my wedding in 1994.

    Songs such as Steve Siagel’s “Tevya Spirit” and “Hey Hey Camp Tevya” are sung to this day. Little did Steve know those songs would carry on some 30 years later. My wife and I look at each other with a smile each time our kids sing these songs. More amazingly our eight year old daughter sings the songs and she doesn’t even go to Tevya yet!

    With camp in its second session now, and with Color War (or “competition” as we called it) upon us, there will be the ever important Songfest with the color war teams writing and learning songs to familiar tunes. Our very own Tevya Alma Mater is from a song festival during competition of a color war team many years ago.

    As more time passes it is the music or shira that is always on the children’s minds. Will there be shira tonight? Who will lead shira? What songs will we sing? I hope you all can reflect on your time as a child at summer camp and can appreciate the music you learned and realize that the song always remains the same.

    L’ hitraot – Barnet

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