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Summer Job: Chapter 30

Dov Haller

Chaim wasn’t dressed for Shabbos, like Penner, nor wearing a lime-green Ne’os Deshe T-shirt like his father-in-law. He wasn’t really sure what his role was

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

B arry Penner was wearing a tightly knotted tie, greeting counselors and the few parents who’d driven up their children. Hershel Levinsky sat in a huge lawn chair near where the buses were parked, megaphone in hand, singing out greetings and welcoming boys by name.

Chaim wasn’t dressed for Shabbos, like Penner, nor was he wearing a lime-green Ne’os Deshe T-shirt like his father-in-law. He wasn’t really sure what his role was.

Rivky had once come home from a chasunah and told Chaim how she’d tried to join in with the younger girls in some new dance. “I watched for a while and got the basic idea, but when I tried to join, it just didn’t work for me. There was a method, but I wasn’t getting it. I was always off by a few beats.”

Chaim thought of that as he watched streams of boys descend from the buses: There was clearly a routine here, but he was missing it.

Chaim looked over to Rabbi Singer, the head counselor. They’d first met last night and Chaim immediately pegged the young man as a typical Ne’os Deshe hire. He was earnest and sincere, and had enjoyed a rich career as an assistant head counselor in many other camps. But he’d never made it to the top. He’d been head counselor at Ne’os Deshe for the last five years and loved it, he told Chaim. This was his place. The other camps were focused on shtick and noise, and not the kids. He loved working with Rabbi Levinsky and couldn’t wait to work with Chaim.

Chananya Singer seemed to have figured out his role, clipboard in hand as he checked off names and conferred with counselors.

“One second,” Chaim said, as an idea came to mind and he approached Rabbi Singer. “The kids are just grabbing the luggage dollies. Whoever gets it first takes it, and some of them are leaving them by the bunkhouses. Let’s make order, maybe have a line-up: Every kid can take one for five minutes and then bring it back.”

Singer looked doubtful. “I don’t know, it’s a bit late to start announcing rules. They seem to have figured it out, no?”

Chaim was getting more agitated by the minute. A small red-headed boy was done with his luggage, but he was giving his friend a ride on the dolly.

“Hey,” Chaim said, running over, “there are other boys who can use that. Come on, give it over.” The boy giggled and ran right by Chaim, as if he hadn’t said anything.

“I said stop! Come on, kids can use that dolly instead of shlepping their duffle bags.” The redhead stopped and surveyed Chaim curiously. “Who are you?”

“My name is Chaim Reimer, I’m the new assistant director,” he answered, surprising himself. “Okay, great. Well, you really need to get a life,” the boy said, and hurried off.

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