It all began with the annual Rabbinical College of America board meeting, which YSP attends every year.
After singing the customary songs in front of the members of the board, things took an unexpected turn, as Mr Rosenhaus, whose property we had been at just the week before, expressed his frustration at YSP’s behavior during their visit. Just as he finished, he added on more thing – “This is a Breakout. COLOR WAR!”, and with that, it was on!
Teams were split and the Generals and their Lieutenants were introduced. Nobody was quite aware of the enormity of the two days that lay ahead. Here it is important to note that morning learning classes run as usual during Color War.
Wednesday morning, Talmidim woke up to the first day of Color War. After Shacharis, the Halacha Skits were prepared, and presented at 1:00. Team Avodim presented a skit on the Halochos of Krias Hatorah, in the form of a variety of different characters auditioning to be a Chazzan. Team Bonim presented a skit on Mivtzah Tefillin, with two Israeli bochurim going on their regular Friday route who encounter some intersting scenarios, and forget to bring the Tefillin.
After lunch, Talmidim were given the days quota for Tanya Baal Peh, and were spot checked for their proper knowledge of the lines they were required to learn. Every single Talmid was required to finish the Quota, and there were additional lines which could be learned for extra points. Also, going to Mikva that day earned you extra points, and Boruch Hashem, many Talmidim visited the Mikva, some for the first time in a long time.
The Grand plays, which were scripted the night before, where rehearsed by the teams, with the pressure on Team Avodim, who would be performing first. Actors are of course the main component of the play, but that doesn’t mean the backdrops and props don’t count. Hammering, painting, cutting and trimming, and a few short hours later, entire market place scenes had been built, forests brought in, and even an Indian Cult scene constructed!
At 6:30, Team Avodim presented their play, which had the crowd on the edge of their seats, as they watched to see how Ilan (?), a reincarnation a a sorcerer who was being prosecuted in the Heavenly court, wandered from an Indian cult to a Chabad House, and found meaning in his own life. Although at first the Cult seemd like it had what to offer, Ilan discovered that it was all nonsense, with no real meaning to it. An encounter with some Chabadnikim during his travels in India, and a phone call had him in touch with his local Chabad House, where he was welcomed, and grew to become a Frum Jew, complete with Chitas and Rambam every day. Complete with a solid score, realistic sound effects, and the aforementioned props, the play was nothing short of amazing.
After a hasty supper, Talmidim reseated themselves in the Auditorium, for Team Bonim’s play. The Color War play itself featured some sort of Color War breakout, with the first scene being interrupted and ending abruptly. The play (re)began in Spain, in the 1500’s during the Spanish Inquisition, and recounted the tale of a father being imprisoned for practicing Judaism, and loosing contact with his son. After much torture, he still wouldn’t reveal the identities of any other Jews in his city. In a extreme turn of events, the imprisoned Jew discovered that his imprisoner was actually his son, and was reunited with him in a teary and dramatic scene. A plan was organized with the Persian Mafia to extradite father from prison, but it was almost too late – his persecutor were going to execute him because he refused to speak! At the last moment, when father was already positioned in the gallows, the Persian Mafia came running in, guns and all, and saved father from a horrible death.
Maariv, and then the night was yet young, as teams sat down to review the following day, and begin working on their Theme Songs. Many revisions, tunes, ideas and brainstorming later (and a LOT of soda), the songs were complete, and a few hours of sleep were slept.
Thursday morning was time for scavengers, where each team ahd a few minutes to perform a skit that ended off in a specific word(s). The crowd was rolling with laughter as they watched the talented performance of their fellow Talmidim.
Learning classes were as regular, YSP Style, and afterwards, the Talmidim gathered in the Zal to hear the Theme Speeches from a representative on each team. Talmid Mottle Marcus from team Avodim, and Talmid Levi Korf expressed the theme, both bringing personal stories that showed them, personally, what the theme meant to them.
The days’ TBP Quota was distributed, and as Talmidim took care of the preparation for the Grand Sing, they took a few moments to learn the quota, because everyone knows, TBP wins the war!
It was already time to prepare for the Grand Sing, where the Talmidim on each team would present their Theme Songs, amidst a schedule of many other exiting events.
First up, the Talmidim needed to learn their teams’ song, which was done quickly and efficiently. (Almost too quickly!)
Preparations were in full swing, with costumes for the repective teams being created. Starbucks for Team Avodim, and Shluchim at the Kinnus Hashluchim for Team Bonim. Hundreds of Starbucks logos were printed, for the costumes, and genuine Starbucks coffee cups were procured, ready to bribe the judges with freshly brewed coffee at the sing. The Shluchim were given their own personalized name tag badges, just like the real thing, as well as a small folder with various Kinnus documents, which was delivered hot out of the printer.
7:30pm came, and it was already time to go. Team Bonim entered the Sing, and took their seats, quietly, ensuring to pelase the judges with their entrance. They were followed by Team Avodim, who entered dressed in the full StarBucks uniform. Director Levi Harlig welcomed the Judges, who came in dressed as judges. From there, they took over, and welcomed the Generals, who entered amidst the saluted of all.
Team Starbucks-Avodim delivered fresh coffee to the judges, after a short comedy skit which involved a stickup in a Starbucks shop. Head Staff – Cheif Justices – were welcomed with a lebedike dance.
Levi Harlig took the mic, and welcomed Vice Chairman of Mekros L’inyonei Chinuch, Rabbi Moshe Kartlarsky, who addressed the Kinnus Hashluchim of YSP, touching on the importance of both teams’ themes, and reminiscing on his own days in camp, where there too, the Color War teams were Bonim and Avodim, and one year Bonim won, the other, Avodim! Rabbi Kotlarsky welcome General Shneur Shemtov to the podium, where he addressed the theme of the evening.
A few more presentations, and then it was time for the Song in the Grand Sing. Team Bonim was given one pratice run, and then it was for points. Their song was controlled by one of it’s composer’s, Mendel Bluming, and brought much satisfaction to the judges.
Mendel Volovik of team Avodim ran his teams song, again first a practice, and then the real thing. Judges were visible impressed.
With the formalities over, Gramman and comedy songs were presented, and before they knew it, the Talmidim were back in Zal for Maariv, and off to sleep for the next part of YSP: After Color War.