Shalom Life | July 01, 2014

EXCLUSIVE: Canada’s 4th Smartest Man Talks Upcoming Camp Massad Reunion

Marshall Carroll discusses his cherished memories at Camp Massad before it’s 60th anniversary.

By: Ashley Baylen

Published: June 15th, 2012 in Culture » Society » Interviews

EXCLUSIVE: Canada’s 4th Smartest Man Talks Upcoming Camp Massad Reunion

Manitoba’s Camp Massad is the only Hebrew immersion summer camp in all of North America. For over half a century, the camp has provided children (and adults alike) with incredible experiences and memories that have aided in forming identity, community, and creativity.

This upcoming summer marks a huge milestone for the camp- 60 years! In celebration, Camp Massad has organized an Alumni Reunion August 24-26th. Almost every former program director, counsellor, and camper has signed on to return to their old cabins to “sing old cabin songs, debate Maccabiah scores, dance to rikudei am and Stairway to Heaven, write and perform shtick for Café ben Leumi, and roll, paint, and tack up backdrops.”

Shalom Life had to chance to speak with Camp Massad “lifer”, Marshall Carroll, about the upcoming reunion, the importance of Camp Massad, and some of his most cherished memories.

Ashley Baylen (AB): What makes Camp Massad different than other Jewish camps?

Marshall Caroll (MC): Camp Massad is the only Hebrew Immersion overnight camp in North America. Everything that is done at camp, every announcement, every activity, every meal and every program is in Hebrew. Massad is also different than other camps because of its unique evening programs, many of which involve the writing, directing and producing of theatrical productions (in Hebrew) in the course of a single day! Over the years Camp Massad has produced Hebrew versions of the musicals Fiddler on the Roof, West Side Story, Oliver, Cabaret, Damn Yankees, Beauty and the Beast and Annie, just to name a few, as well as dozens of original productions. Campers and counsellors also make all the costumes and sets for every production. Many of our evening programs involve the entire camp (all ages) which we believe fosters a strong sense of community.

AB: The camp’s 60th Anniversary is coming up. What do you have planned to celebrate?

MC: Our 60th anniversary alumni reunion weekend is taking place August 24-August 26 at the campsite in Winnipeg Beach, Manitoba. Camper and counsellor alumni from every decade from the 1950’s to the 2010’s will be attending and sleeping in the same cabins they did back in the day (hopefully not on the same mattresses), singing cabin songs that they’ve remembered for decades, and, no doubt, debating in Hebrew which Maccabiah (colour war) team was the best ever. Many families will be represented by two and even three generations of campers.

The reunion will begin with Kabbalat Shabbat which, at Massad, includes tefillah (prayer) tunes known only to Massadniks and traditional Israeli circle dances. Saturday will be a day of activities, sports, one or two famous Massad programs, discussions and reminiscing, followed by Café ben Leumi (International coffee house), one of Massad’s famous theatrical programs in which every cabin performs a shtick (based on a country) that they’ve written earlier in the day. Café will be followed by Rikud Zar (literally ‘strange dance,’ which is just an old-fashioned rock and roll dance party), at which DJs and music from all the decades will be represented. I am looking forward to dancing to Twist and Shout, The Bus Stop and Tsipurei Poogy!

Saturday night will end with a traditional bonfire as we harmonize to the great Massad songs.

AB: Can you tell us about some of the notable Camp Massad alum?

MC: Our Camp Massad has produced dozens of accomplished professionals, among them physicians, lawyers, professors, writers, teachers, engineers, social workers and actors. Gemini award-winning actor Jonas Chernick, Recipes to Riches creator Allan Novak, Loving Spoonfuls host David Gale and Canada’s fourth smartest person, according to CBC TV, Marshall Carroll (that’s me) are among the alumni who are attending the reunion. Jason Marantz, the Chief Executive of the London School of Jewish Studies (LSJS) in London, England will also be attending. Other well-known alumni include Lev Gonick vice president for information technology services at Case Western Reserve University, and health guru Ali Zentner, star of the CBC show, ‘Village on a Diet’.

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