Hey Camp George!
Every summer, our camp is lucky enough to welcome a group of Mishlachat – Israeli staff . Both sessions, they work in partnership with the rest of our staff to put on “Yom Yisrael” (Israel Day), which teaches our campers and staff about the culture and traditions of Israel.
Yesterday was our Yom Yisrael of the session – and let me tell you, it was a blast! Not only was it meaningful – through events like the all camp T’fillah, but it was also educational through “Fanan” (Israeli slang for fun programming) , and of course it was tons of fun with lots of other activities, like the Israeli Festival!
For a full insiders look into the day, check out my overview below. And be sure to click here, to see our Yom Yisrael video!
- Happy Yom Yisrael
All camp T’fillah:
Unlike our usual weekday services, which are divided by unit, the entire camp met together for T’fillah. Throughout the service, both North American staff, and our Mishlachat, spoke about their connections to Israel, and also the similarities and differences n between life in Canada and Israel.
One of our Mishlachat – Ariel, and one of our North American staff- Isaac talked about the differences they experienced living in each other’s country. Ariel just spent the last year working in the Jewish community in Toronto as a “Shinshinim” – Israeli staff, at Jewish day schools and Temples. Isaac just spent the last 5 months living in Israel, and teaching English to children in a small town.
Here are some of the things that they noticed:
- Isaac: “I met Jewish people from all corners of the Earth.”
- Ariel: “I was exposed to many different religions.”
- Isaac: “There were Aroma’s (café) and not Starbucks.”
- Ariel: “There were Starbucks and not Aroma’s (café)!”
Our older campers were able to sign up for their choices, while the younger campers rotated through in cabin groups. Here are just some of the chugim that were offered:
- Bikes- “Take a Trip to the Kinneret” – campers learned about different religions in Israel.
- A&C- Tikkun Olam activity; campers made Hamsa which will be sent to organizations in Israel that help at risk youth. (What a special way to give back to those in need)
- Cooking – campers made a delicious Israeli desert – chocolate balls. MMM delicious!
- Dance- campers learned Israeli dances and body drum dance, imitating an Israeli dance company – Mayumana!
Maccabi Games: Just like the real Maccabi games, campers participated in sports based activities and games, like long jump and soccer!
Fanan (fun programming): This was another elective based program, but this time just for our older campers, which gave them a chance to engage in meaningful and educational conversations.
A few of the options included were:
- “Messages in Israeli Hip-hop” – which looked at different Israeli Hip-hop musicians, and the meaning and significance of their song lyrics.
- “Ways to get to Israel” – which was led by one of our Jewish Living Specialists – Leah Sternberg, who talked about the different opportunities our campers and staff have to get to Israel, such as Birthright, NFTY programming etc.
A spin off of “Taglit Birthright”, our younger campers had the opportunity to tour “Israel” (different sites around camp that were modeled after different areas in Israel), such as the beach- which represented Eilat, and the top of the hill, which represented Mount Hermon. In each location, campers learned facts about each place, and participated in small activities that related to the area, such as “snorkeling” in Eilat, where campers had to look for small objects hidden in the first area of swim (which is very shallow).
The festival was a great way to top off a day of amazing Israeli programming! At each station, upon completing the game, campers earned tickets which they could use to buy Israeli goods at the “Shuk” (market), which sold Israeli chocolate balls (made earlier in the day by some of our campers), Irsraeli themed key chains, banners, etc and more! There were many different Israeli games stations, including:
- “Refilling the Kinneret” – where a staff stood behind a banner and represented the Kinneret, and campers could throw wet sponges at them in order to “refill” the Kinneret. (A great way to have fun, and cool off!)
- “Magen David Ring Toss”- like the ring toss we know and love but throwing Magen David shaped rings instead! (How creative!)
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