Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Bruce Barak Koffler Remembers, With Pics


Here are two more photos of a few people on the rifle range at Camp in the mid -1960's

The participants are a Betariah from Toronto, Tom Kovari, Manny (David) Sprung, me, Barak (standing, shirtless), and Walter Chayse.

Note that the rifles and ammunition were donated to Betar by the Office of Civilian Marksmanship, an office of the U.S. Department of Defense, to encourage young people to learn how to shoot accurately, in supervised marksmanship training programs.




This photo shows some of the interested (and a few not so interested) chanichim at Camp Betar learning about rifle safety before being taught how to load, aim and fire.

this was in the mid 1960's.

I am the instructor holding up the M1 rifle --almost as big as me!

Some of the chanichim may still remember the following: We were building an obstacle course in the woods, and a thin rope we were working with --to use to string up a very heavy-duty rope, got lodged high up in a tree. I fired straight up at the rope, with a thick tree branch behind it, and dislodged it with the first shot.

More than a few jaws dropped, as nobody had ever seen anything like that-- except in the movies! It surprised me as much as anybody else!







Thanks for posting my comments on the Betar blog, about my late father, David.

I went through one of my Betar photo albums today, and found the attached picture of him. He was sitting, with his shirt off, on one of the watch towers we were building at camp, in Neversink, NY, in August, 1966.

He and my mother were at camp for a few days, visiting me and my brother, Lionel; he took his shirt off and pitched in with the construction!

My father used to love being out in the sun, working shirtless -- whether in the garden at home, or helping build a watchtower at Camp Betar!

I have many more color photos of camp activities and Toronto Betar, from the 1960s, that I will be happy to scan and post to the blog.

I am sure that many of the older chevrei will be pleased to see themselves as they looked, about 45 years ago. While we are all still very youthful at heart, some of us do not look it, anymore. The hair on my head is pure gray, and the hair on my chest is snow white!













Here are the Camp Betar waiters saluting the flag in the mid-1960's.

If you wish, I can crop and enlarge just their faces and upper bodies, and it might help to identify them. Chuck (Chaim) Hornstein z"l is off to one side holding a bugle. At the very back is Isaac Aptowitzer (from Betar Montreal), the Madrich in charge of the waiters that summer.













One night at Camp Betar, we had "Arab Night" (Leyla Aravit).

We all dressed up in headdress and robes, and added some makeup, to look more the part. We ate middle-eastern style foods and danced Arab / Bedouin - style dances --like "debka daluna"

For that evening, I put on a fake large moustache.

Here are Bella Bryks and I in the dining hall, in the summer of 1966 under a poster of Nazareth.






















These photos show campers at Camp betar setting up a tent camp. I do not know what the occasion was.

In the bottom photo is Amos Eres (z"l) our Shaliach for that summer.

The old red Camp Betar truck (that summer), was used to transport chanichim around, as well as to pick up supplies.













At Camp Betar, once all the chanichim were asleep, the madrichim returned to the dining hall for late evening snacks.

During one summer, Shimshon Feder was our Shaliach and Camp Director.

Shimshon was and probably still is-- and excellent accordionist. He played all the old Betar songs, and more modern Israeli folk songs.

We used to listen to him play, and on one occasion, he recorded his music onto a reel-to-reel tape recorder, seen in one of the photos.

I still have the tape someplace, and once transfered it to a tape cassette, where I played it so many times it must have worn out the tape. Shimshon was my inspiration to learn how to play the accordion-- and I can still play many of the old Betar songs.

In these photos, two of the madrichot were sitting listening in the dining hall to a recording of Shimshon playing these songs. Naomi Atzmoni is the one in the blue jacket. Yitzchak Aptowitzer is standing in the doorway behind her.

The madricha sitting in front of Naomi, listening intently to the tape of Shimshon playing, was Emily Schertz.







This is a seminar, at Camp Betar. under the shade of a tree.

Reuven Genn is speaking. Eli Solomon (z"l) is wearing the red hat. I do not remember the names of the others in this group.
















These photos show campers at Camp betar setting up a tent camp. I do not know what the occasion was.

In the bottom photo is Amos Eres (z"l) our Shaliach for that summer.

The old red Camp Betar truck (that summer), was used to transport chanichim around, as well as to pick up supplies.

7 comments:

Risa said...

!כל הכבוד
Bruce-Barak and Batya
for these wonderful photos.

YMedad said...

The picture at the old firing range includes, I think, Myron Buchman in addition to Chuck Hornstein z"l.

That red truck recalls to me the time Efraim Even drive us in to town for ice cream and milkshakes (real ones) at Dolly Madison's, pulled into the parking lot behind Dolly's and then proceeded to park it next to the only other vehicle there - and scrape it!

Of course, there is also the Color War incident of 1968 when just as someone was getting ready to fire at a target, some kid comes tearing down the slope and proceeds to cross the range. I can't recall who screamed out (or how many) but luckily for all, the shooter managed to stop squeezing the trigger in time.

YMedad said...

And as for that tower, is this it, there behind me in the background?

Shachna Waxman said...
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Shachna Waxman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shachna Waxman said...

With regard to the group picture on the Rifle range, the kid on th left in the beret is me

Anonymous said...

hey, i currently live on the property of where camp Betar was located (in Neversink New York) and while living here for the past 15 years we have had a few people come up to our door and ask to look around the property. and i never thought to ask them about camp Betar but i was just wondering what exactly was camp Betar? i know that there is a basketball hoop, and a poolin the woods by our home, but anyway, i was just curious about the property so thanks in advance to anyone who replies to my comment!