web analytics
August 2, 2014 /
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
News & Views
Sponsored Post
Ultimate Mission – November 2014

Don’t miss this opportunity to explore Israel off the beaten track, feel the conflict first hand, understand the security issues and politic realities, and have an unforgettable trip!



Seismic Zionism at Summer Camp

Visit http://israelcampusbeat.org for the latest Israel trends and events on campus.

For many pro-Israel campus activists, summer camps are places of inspiration, inculcation and leadership development.

During their summer breaks away from lecture halls and libraries, many undergraduate students assume leadership roles as counselors and mentors to a younger generation in camps across the country. Camps across the Jewish spectrum feature programming, discussions and classes aimed at developing staff members into pro-Israel campus activists.

Camp Ramah in Nyack, a day camp within the Conservative movement, is known for its array of developmental programming for staff members who reside in camp after campers have gone home. Staff programming “allows us to develop a currency and competency to articulate our passions for Israel,” said Josh Cooper, a division head for campers going into kindergarten this summer.

Cooper is highly involved in the Penn Israel Sector at the University of Pennsylvania, where he is majoring in mathematics. He attributes his Israel activity on campus to his 16 summers at Ramah camps.

Rabbi Ami Hersh, the assistant director of Camp Ramah in Nyack since 2006, explained that one of Ramah’s central goals is to teach Ahavat Yisrael, a true love of Israel. “Ramah has a dual mission,” he explained, “of serving campers by day, while educating and empowering its staff at night.” The counselors are immersed in an educational experience over the summer of personal growth and leadership development.

Maya Yair is another campus leader who credits her Israel activism to her many pivotal years at Camp Tel Yehudah, within the Young Judaea movement. Yair is president of Bearcats for Israel at Binghamton University, where she is majoring in political science.

Reflecting on her years as a staff member at Camp Tel Yehudah, Yair shared, “Teaching my campers about Herzl and a variety of Zionist thinkers was practice for my explaining Israel’s origins to peers on campus.”

The attention given to Israel in many camps is unparalleled. According to Hersh, Ramah camp sessions, courses and activities construct an Israel that “isn’t just a foreign place, thousands of miles away – but a real place, close to the heart and close to home.” Ninety percent of Nyack staff members have visited Israel.

“Working as a counselor,” Cooper remarked, “means representing Israel. It’s no different on campus.” Ramah staff members are taught this responsibility.

The overnight camp environment is in some ways similar to the university setting. Both are worlds onto themselves, guided by ethos and detached from the “real world.” In dormitories and camp bunks, during library study sessions and lakeside conversations, time seems to linger, friendships develop, and the semester or summer ends before you know it.

In both arenas, student leaders foster a collective sentiment of love and support for Israel through activities and programming.

Student-counselors consistently point to strong relationships with Israeli staff members as highly influential. “Through bonding with the Mishlachat [a group of Israeli counselors found at many camps], I developed personal friendships with real Israelis,” Yair said.

According to Cooper, having a Mishlachat is valuable because it allows campers and staff members to meet and befriend their Israeli counterparts. “When I advocate for Israel on campus,” he affirmed, “or think about my homeland, my relationships with the Mishlachat staff members are part of what comes to mind.”

Summer camps are strong inculcators of Jewish identity, their impact reaching far beyond eight weeks. The student leaders are primarily responsible for the strong records of success in promoting Jewish identity and the love of Israel among campers.

The links between attending camp and Jewish engagement are well documented in the recently published Jewish Community Study of New York. The study, organized by the UJA-Federation of New York, indicates that children who attend an overnight camp with Jewish content are likely to score much higher on the Index of Jewish Engagement as adults.

“The Jewish family and the various instruments of Jewish education “both formal, as in school, and informal, such as Jewish summer camp — are central to the mission of transmitting Jewish commitment and engagement,” the study reports.

It’s not only movement camps that are part of this effort. The Foundation for Jewish Camp and the i-Center, organizations both focused on shaping the identity and direction of young North American Jews, are piloting an initiative in 12 non-movement camps this summer.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Seismic Zionism at Summer Camp”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Cleared for Release: 2nd Lt. Hadar Goldin Abducted by Hamas, 2 IDF Soldiers Killed
Latest News Stories

We are experiencing technical difficulties, and won’t be able to fix the site before Shabbat in Israel…

The IDF has confirmed 2nd Lt. Hadar Goldin, 23 of Kfar Saba is the soldier suspected kidnapped by Hamas on Friday.

Netanyahu called Kerry onto the carpet and Kerry and Ban Ki-Moon gave their assurances.

The IDF has named the abducted soldier…

Hamas has learned the art of kidnapping from Hezbollah. Israel neeeds to figure out quickly how to deal with that.

3:31pm IDF Spox notifications: Hamas terrorists killed two IDF soldiers during the suspected kidnapping of 2nd Lt. Goldin this morning. We suspect that a group of Hamas terrorists, including a suicide attacker, kidnapped 2nd. Lt. Goldin at 9:30AM & dragged him into a tunnel. If our suspicions about today’s events are accurate, Hamas took advantage […]

This time Hamas may have succeeded in kidnapping a soldier.

Report: Hamas took advantage of the cease fire to attack IDF soldiers…

The IDF has released names of the soldier killed on Thursday night.

12:30pm Be’er Sheva Region, Ofakim… x2 10:50am Sirens at Eshkol. 10:03am – – Cease fire broken by Hamas – – Hamas fires rocket at Eshkol region. All winners, please collect your bets. No injuries were reported in the rocket strike. 9:30am Hamas hasn’t fired any rockets at Israel yet since the 8:00am cease fire went […]

If Israel finds a terror tunnel during the cease fire, do the terms of the cease fire allow it to be blown up?

Curious as to how long Israel has been rocket free? This site will tell you…

Hamas wants the Arabs in Judea and Samaria to join in…

As the 8:00am deadline for the cease fire approaches, Hamas has shot a lot rockets into Israel to get their last licks: 7:32am 08-01-2014 Bnei Ayish / Gan Yavne 7:32am 08-01-2014 Bnei Ayish / Gan Yavne 7:32am 08-01-2014 Bnei Ayish / Gan Yavne, Givati 7:31am 08-01-2014 Ashdod, Bnei Ayish / Gan Yavne, Givati 7:31am 08-01-2014 […]

Said Arikat is not just a journalist, he acts more like a lobbyist for the Palestinian Arab cause in daily press briefings at the State Department.

More Articles from Michael Snow, Israel Campus Beat

During their summer breaks away from lecture halls and libraries, many undergraduate students assume leadership roles as counselors and mentors to a younger generation in camps across the country. Camps across the Jewish spectrum feature programming, discussions and classes aimed at developing staff members into pro-Israel campus activists.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/on-campus/seismic-zionism-at-summer-camp/2012/06/27/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: