The summer months are seen by many as just a vacation. Seen as a time to relax and slow down, “less” can become the motto.
“The Rebbe taught us that summer is the time for more not less. That is what Gan Yisroel West is all about,” said Rabbi Shlomo Menkes, the camp’s director. “More learning, more davening, more time outdoors in the fresh mountain air.”
At Gan Yisroel West the directors and staff of the boys division decided to take “more” up a notch. In order to encourage enhanced davening they created a very special award, the Dugma Chaya Award. This award would be given to the camper who most set the example of one who davens like a chosid.
The award features a dollar that was given by the Rebbe to Rabbi Meir Harlig of Crown Heights who generously donated it to the camp at the request of Yanky Raskin, the head counselor, in order to show his support of this project.
So many boys could qualify for the award but only one could win. It became necessary to do a raffle for the award. Throughout the summer the competition was felt by all as the campers strived to earn as many raffle tickets as they could.
The raffle became the highlight of the banquet on the final night at camp. The mood was celebratory with staff and campers dancing and singing. It was an epic moment when the numbers were called out and the award went to Tzvi Perlstein, a young Shliach from Salem, Oregon.
The award was presented on a beautiful wooden plaque with a picture of The Rebbe and the dollar set behind a plexiglass cover.
Tzvi was heard saying, “I will never forget the numbers of the winning ticket.”
“We hope the award will continue to inspire Tzvi and that he and the rest of the campers will continue their efforts in davening like a chosid over the coming years,” said Rabbi Menkes.