Photo credit: Mendy Soffer

Campers and Staff members in CGI gathered around a tree on Wednesday .

It wasn’t a bonfire or a survival course in the woods.

The tree which stood in the central square of Gan Yisrael was an iconic fixture for as long as people can remember.

Nailed to it were direction signs with the signature nicknames pointing to areas in the camp. “Siberia” on the right, “Turkey” and “Texas” on the left.

While it didn’t have navigation to actual points in the camp (where exactly is the “arts & crafts” pointing to?), it’s creative carvings served as an introduction to the camp’s spirit for new campers and a meeting point for bunks and groups of friends.

Wednesday, as the directors of the camp, Rabbi Abraham Shemtov and Rabbi Yossi Futerfas, were strolling the grounds, they saw a staff member leaning on the tree and noticed that it was very shaky.  A staff member was called in, and without any ado, he shoved it over. The GM’s (general managers) were then summoned to slice it up, and cart it away.

While the less sentimental ones remarked “it’s just a tree…” Others standing around watching with emotion stated it was “the end of an era.”