There is a lot of preparation that goes into preparing a carnival. Supplies, prizes, hiring staff and finding the right venue are among the tasks that must be performed to make for a successful event. Making sure there is an accessible bomb shelter is usually not on the list, but the carnival that was put on by the Camp Sdei Chemed boys program in Bet Shemesh was no ordinary event.
For the children of Bet Shemesh this has been anything but a normal summer. With frequent sirens scaring them, and being woken to rush to a miklat in the middle of the night, there has been too much stress, and too few occasions for joy and fun. Many summer programs have been cancelled due to the danger coming from Gaza. When Camp Sdei Chemed heard of the situation, they decided to do something to change things for the better. Under the direction of Rabbi Pesach Summer, the Sdei Chemed staff set up a completely free carnival for the children of Bet Shemesh and the surrounding areas, to help give them a fun experience.
Despite having only 36 hours to prepare, the carnival came off without a hitch. Yeshivat Reishit Yerushalayim generously opened their doors to provide a great venue for the carnival. Over 300 men, women and children showed up for games, prizes, moon bounce, pop corn, cotton candy and more. The smiles and laughter said it all.
Then, with only a few minutes left, a siren sounded indicating that it was time to get to a bomb shelter. Parents and children who only moments before had been eating and picking out prizes, rushed haphazardly to get to safety. Mothers were separated from their children and the whole event seems ready to unravel. Fortunately, the campers and their counselors were well prepared for such an event occurring and quickly took charge helping to create order from chaos. Two of their talented counselors started playing music and before you knew it, kumsitz-style singing could be heard coming from the miklat. When two rockets were shot down by Iron Dome missiles, everyone emerged from the safe rooms and, incredibly, went back to enjoying food and picking out prizes.
Dovid Teitelbaum, whose father founded Sdei Chemed almost 45 years ago, received numerous emails and messages thanking him for the wonderful experience. For all who were involved, this is not an event that anyone will soon forget.