Am Yisrael, am Yisrael, am Yisrael chai! Our shlichim (Israeli staff) this summer truly bring life, passion, joy and excitement into every aspect of camp!
Our shlichim contribute to camp life in a variety of different ways – some are general counselors, some are lifeguards, some nature specialists, or ropes course specialists – whatever their job may be, this group of young adults is making a lasting impact on our community. Here’s what they have to say about what their hopes are for their time at camp:
At camp we ask all our staff to bring their lived experiences to the relationships they build with each other and with our campers. Our goals for Israel education at camp include:
- Campers and staff will take away meaningful, personal, and individual connections with our Israeli staff.
- Campers and staff will develop curiosity and interest in learning more about Israel beyond the summer.
- Campers and staff recognize Israel as an essential piece of what it means to be Jewish today.
- Campers and staff will deepen respect and understanding of different ways of being Jewish, and a strengthen their sense of connectivity with global Jewry.
Four times throughout the summer our shlichim plan a fun, engaging and meaningful day of activities connected to Israel. Our younger campers get to “travel” through Israel, visiting the Kotel in Jerusalem and learning about the custom of writing a prayer or a wish to put in the wall, heading down to Eilat to make ice cream, learning about Pride celebrations in Israel, and competing in Israel Jeopardy. Teen camp “creates” their own Israeli life – learning about living in a city (and the demographic and cultural differences between living in a city like Jerusalem vs. Haifa or Tel Aviv), on a moshav, in communities where Jews, Muslims, Druze and Christians all live together. All campers attend the Israel Festival complete with popular Israeli music, some of our favorite Israeli dances, learning children’s songs form Israel, and tasting Israeli food.
In between these fun activities, our campers get to really talk to Israeli staff who share their experiences of growing up in Israel. We intentionally make space for campers to ask questions that might be challenging and for shlichim to share honestly how they navigate a sense of pride and love for their country and also the feelings of frustration and disappointment with current events. We make space for these important conversations just as we make space for folks to talk about the challenges in the United States and what it means to be a responsible, active citizen, working to make positive change for all people.