By Rachael Pass, NFTY-OV President 5768-5769
I have attended the Goldman Union Camp Institute for seven years. Every summer, I go to GUCI for the best time of my life: best friends, best learning experience, best song sessions, best counselors. One of my best counselors was Shahar Ziv, known to my cabin mates and me as Zivi. Zivi is from a small city outside Tel Aviv and came to GUCI to be a counselor in the summer of 2003. In the four weeks she spent as my counselor, she taught me so much about Israel and about life. When I met Zivi, she was 21 years old, meaning she had already spent her required two years in Tzahal, the Israeli Army. Until then, I had never met anyone anywhere near my age who had served in the army. Although she was never on the front line of any war, Zivi had insights and understandings to share about her two years in the IDF. Zivi was a perfectly girly girl, who could serve in the army but could not look at a spider in the cabin without screaming. Zivi also taught me how to be a strong woman. The theme of our cabin that summer was “The SuperGirls of Cabin 4.” Zivi taught me that being Super wasn’t necessarily a physical strength, or even a mental strength, but the strength to reach out for help when you need it. An American counselor would have said Super Strength isn’t physical, it is mental; but Zivi took the idea an extra step. Zivi taught me so much in that one summer. Having an Israeli counselor brought a new perspective on many things to my cabin mates and me. She taught me to be strong, while still being human. I will never forget that.