Thursday, February 10, 2005


Frequently Asked Questions - and Answers

Hey guys - listen up! - we got some Important Stuff to share with y'all!

All is in readiness and we are looking forward to your arrival at camp at beautiful Camp Ramah Darom in the North Georgia mountains next week. Our thanks in advance to the retreat committee for all their hard work.

FJMC At The Retreat:
Now in its 6th year, the Anshei Darom retreat at Camp Ramah has previously been our only regional function. Two years ago at the retreat we formalized the region with bylaws and officers. We continue to work on developing the region into a focused group of clubs sharing "Best Practices." We welcome your input and discussions over the weekend as we raise your spirits and also raise your awareness of the region and its main function - that of being the link between the clubs and our national organization.

We are fortunate to have Stan Schnitzer as our guest this year. He is on the board of the FJMC and is a Past President of the New Jersey region. As you can imagine, that's a lot of yichus to bring to the table. Stan also brings his knowledge of club building and the organization to the retreat. Please make sure you have a chance to say hello to Stan and to speak to him. Of course, we'll also have a perennial favorite, Rabbi Chuck Simon, the FJMC Executive Director, joining us - be sure to give Rav Chuck a big hello, too!

As the Retreat is fast approaching, here are some FAQ's that bear repeating:

How do I get there?
You will receive directions to Camp Ramah via e-mail. They are (mostly) the same as previous years', so if you got lost before, you will probably get lost again. You won't get into too much trouble if you use MapQuest or Yahoo! maps.

What are the emergency phone numbers?
Can you hear me now? Can you hear me now?? Can you hear me now!??!
During Shabbat the phone is off limits. And if that were not enough, cell phones, pagers and satellite phones do not work especially well at Camp Ramah Darom thanks to the remote mountain location. Please tell your loved ones to call the camp only in case of an extreme emergency.

The RAMAH DAROM emergency numbers are 706-782-9410 / 706-782-9400 dining hall. In addition, the on-site coordinator carries an emergency beeper. This number is 706-782-8954.

What should I bring?
First, the basics:

Sense of humor. (You'll need it after seeing the guys running in and out of the Famous Sweat Hut)

Desire to meet new people.

Warm clothes. The long-range weather report is calling for daytime highs in the mid 50's, with sun on Friday giving way to rain on Saturday (ecch), and nighttime temps down to the low 30's Friday. Hopefully, this will change for the better as the Retreat weekend approaches, but at Ramah Darom, you just never know what you're gonna get - hey, that sounds like Forrest Gump's box of chocolates! Two years ago we had everything from rain to sun to snow. Really. So, as always, layers are the way to go...with maybe something water-resistant.

The extremely well-prepared camper will also bring -

Clothing 'n' such:
2 pairs socks
3 pairs underwear (white squeezers or boxers, none of that nasty European stuff please)
2 pairs blue jeans
1 T-shirt
1 Sweatshirt
Shirt with collar (for Shabbat morning)
1 pair hiking shoes
1 pair athletic shoes
Anshei Darom shirt (if you have one)
Anshei Darom sweatshirt (if you have one)
Hat (kipah will be provided, but bring your own fedora, shtreimel, deerstalker cap, or fez. Guys who bring porkpie hats will be turned away at the gate - this is a kosher establishment)
Gloves (see comments on weather, above)
Earmuffs (see comments on weather, above)
Scarf (see comments on weather, above)
Poncho or other rain gear
Pajamas (no nude sleeping please. We don't care what you wear at home, but please give us a break)
Shvitz hut attire

Large towel (optional - the camp will provide towels)
Soap (optional - the camp will provide soap, nothing fancy)
Shampoo (optional - see above comment)
Deodorant (yes, you most definitely do need it - puhleeze!)
Shower shoes

Religious equipment:
Personal siddur, if desired (Camp Ramah Darom is well stocked with Siddur Sim Shalom)

Miscellaneous equipment:
Anti-snoring equipment (Earplugs, clothespins, nose strips, duct tape, and yes, you can bring your CPAP machine)
Booze (rum, gin, whiskey, beer, wine, Slivovitz, Sterno)
Cigars (outside smoking only, after Havdalah)
Flashlight (this is really useful for post-Shabbat stumbling around)
Camera (for campfire and Sunday morning pix, natch)
Reading material

What kind of dump is this?
What kind of a frequently asked question is this? Relax...this is a modern facility despite its location in the heart of the North Georgia Mountains. This ain't no “Tobacco Road,” - there's electricity, running water, showers, and flush toilets. (LOUD flush toilets.) Mit toilet paper.

Will there be beds?
Hell, yes, we got beds. For $180, we give you more than just a schmattah on the floor. In addition to a "comfy" bunk bed, the camp also provides a pillow, linens, a (really thin) blanket and a towel. Bring an extra blanket if you wish..."really thin" means what it says. Hey, dibs on the bottom bunk!

What kind of Shabbat experience will it be?
The Anshei Darom Shabbat experience is everything Shabbat is supposed to be - but too often is not - in our hectic, day-to-day lives. We will be observing Shabbat by not writing, smoking, using electronic devices, and taking photographs. We will wash and say Motzi before all meals and join in Birkat ha-Mazon after all meals. There is an eruv around the camp so you can carry and indulge in various recreational activities, including the all-important Shabbat nap. However, please note that carrying and indulging Alan Sussman is expressly forbidden.

When should I arrive?
Please plan on arriving at camp Friday Feb 18 between 2 and 4 pm.

What, you haven't paid yet? Those who have not yet sent in their money will be contacted. By a very large, hairy person.

Last-minute Charlies:
If you know someone who is undecided, unsure, or uneasy about participating, encourage him to join us. There's still time to register. Just click on the link on the left sidebar - the one that says Retreat Registration - and put your data in. Be sure to include your address, day and evening phone numbers, shirt size, whether you're a Kohen, Levi, or jes' plain folks (Israel), what shul/Men's Club you're from, and what position (if any) you hold. Bring your check for $180 (US funds, payable to FJMC - Southeast Region) to the retreat and make sure you get it to either Hank Needle or Alan Sussman before Shabbat starts.

...are a popular activity for those Shabbat afternoon hours. There are still slots available. To sign up, hurry, hurry, hurry and send an e-mail to Gene Sacks at and let him know whether you want a 30- or 60-minute session. Gene'll let you know the tariff and payment specifics and you can give him a check upon arrival at Camp Ramah (before Shabbat!).

Department of Useless Statistics:
As of right now, we have 52 - count 'em - 52 registered attendees. As usual, Georgia will be very well represented at the Retreat, with 35 Happy Campers. Tennessee is contributing 11 attendees, and North Carolina 3. We also have a few oddballs independent-minded spirits from Florida and Virginia (welcome back, Steve!), not to mention Rabbi Chuck from New York.

As usual, most of us are jes’ plain Yisraelim, but we will be honored by the presence of four Kohanim and five Levi’im. Get that foot wash ready - no, wait, we ain't dukhening this year.

We're looking forward to seeing you in just a few more days. If you have any more pressing questions please ask Hank Needle (, Alan Sussman (, Norm Hamburger (, or Gene Sacks (



<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?