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Machanayim

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Machanayim is a game similar to dodge ball that is often played by in Orthodox Jewish schools and summer camps. The name Machanayim (sometimes spelled Machanaim) comes from the Hebrew word meaning "two encampments" or, in this case, two teams.


Game Play: Players are divided into two teams and the room is split in half with the teams facing each other. The playing area does not extend all the way to the back of the room or court - the two far ends are left empty, and one volunteer from each team is placed behind the opposing team.

Several balls are thrown into play at the start, although none are activated (see below). The game is similar to Dodgeball, in that players try and throw balls at opponents. When a player is hit below the head, they are out. If someone’s throw is caught by an opponent, then they are out instead.

The difference between Machanayim and Dodgeball is that when a player is out in Machanayim, they are still part of the game. Rather than leaving the court, the player goes to the end area behind the opposing team, joining the original volunteer from their team.


Activation: Only balls that have been "activated" are eligible for use in getting others out. To activate a ball someone from must throw a ball from behind the opposing team line over their heads and back to their team without it hitting the ground. At first, only the team volunteer can do this, but once other players have been hit and are out, they can activate more balls for their team. As soon as a ball hits the ground, it needs reactivation.


Ball Types: Almost any type of ball can be used to play Machanayim, the only rule being that it must be easily catchable by most players. To that extent, very small balls (like a handball) or very large ones (like a beachball) should not be used. Basketballs are generally considered too heavy and can cause injury. Soccer balls and volleyballs are the most popular.


Winning: When one team runs out of players (they are all behind the opposing team), the other team wins.


References

  • [1] Bnei Akiva Couselor Guide
  • [2] Girls Camp
  • [3] Silent Applause, by Sheila Segal

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