W ork, Chaim Reimer had discovered many years earlier, was the greatest form of therapy. He couldn’t be in a bad mood if he had to focus on a specific goal — in this case, helping coordinate a color war breakout with a very limited budget.

“In other years,” Chananya Singer was saying, “your shver was always very much against dramatic breakouts. He thought they were a waste of money. Meromim is having a Trump impersonator this year, but it’s $500 for the whole show. Your shver would go nuts at the cost.”

“Maybe we could get an Obama on the cheap,” Chaim said, and Singer looked confused.

“But isn’t he not president anymore?”

“Yeah, forget it.”

Minsky, the senior division head and a camp veteran, had a cousin in Rekod who’d tipped him off that they were planning a fake leak at an imaginary nearby nuclear power plant. They would have soldiers evacuate all the campers in buses before breaking out color war.

“Also too steep,” Chaim said. “I’m sure we’ll never be able to swing it. Any other ideas?”

“No, not really,” Singer said, “and we don’t have much time left to plan. There are two weeks left to camp and we don’t like to have color war in the last week, if possible. So we really need an eitzah.”

“Nothing free, come on,” Chaim said, looking up at Shia Langsam as he walked into the back office. “Hey, Shia, help us out here. You must have a brother or a cousin who’s a Hatzolah-beeper type. You know, a guy who flies a helicopter for fun and would know how to drop down in a parachute or something?”

A look of pure hurt crossed Langsam’s face. “That’s so bigoted, Chaim. I’m surprised that you would stereotype that way. Do you think every chassidish guy has a brother and a cousin who’s that type?”

Chaim sat up straight. “I’m so sorry, that was wrong of me, I feel terrible. I know it’s not so. Sorry for making assumptions.”

A slow, delighted smile spread across Shia Langsam’s face as he burst out laughing.

“Nah, I’m kidding. I’d love to help with this. I have just the person for you.”

Relieved, Chaim said, “You really know someone who can do this?”

“Actually,” he said, reaching out and patting Chaim on the shoulder, “I have a cousin and a brother. They have a million connections. When do you want to do the breakout?”

*

Barry Penner put down his phone and grimaced.

The e-mail was courteous. There were no undertones of sarcasm and anger. Chaim Reimer was simply informing him of the scheduled dates for color war, as Penner had requested. Hershel Levinsky had always called him as soon as the date was set, knowing that the president of the organization liked to make the grand sing into an event for board members.

But this year… he sighed.

On the one hand, he would’ve loved to invite the board members for the evening so that they could “feel” the camp experience on its finest evening of the summer. (How ironic, he mused, that the year they might actually be able to sense some camp spirit, he didn’t want them to be there.) On the other, he didn’t feel like hearing that Chaim had made a difference, that the camp was headed in a good direction. He wanted his board members far away so that he could sell the camp and be done with it. He’d had his share of Neos Deshe. It was time to move on. (Excerpted from Mishpacha, Issue 665)