Ages: 14 - 17
Budding artists could be found all around the Art Midrasha summer camp in Kyiv (Kiev). The Art Midrasha concept encourages campers to grow Jewishly through creating art.
This summer, each camper chose one of eight different art studios to work on a topic and art technique that interested them. One could, for instance, choose to learn about Jewish history and culture through painting, music, photography, literature, and other media.
Two happy campers display some of the photos they took at camp.
During the first 2 days of camp, the participants got to know one another, became acquainted with the camp structure and how things worked at camp.
The Star of David: a beautiful example of the campers' artwork
The topic of the 3rd day was Jewish community, with a glimpse into shtetl life in the 18th-19th centuries. On the 4th day, half of the participants went on an excursion to Bolekhiv and the other half to Drohobych. Both these towns have a very rich Jewish history. On the 5th day, the campers spoke about traditions in our families and communities and celebrated Shabbat. The 6th day involved a change in activities. Campers gathered in a beit midrash (study hall) to try out art forms that they were not familiar with. The 8th day was dedicated to the Shoah. Each studio chose the topics for the last three days of camp. For example, the Theatre of Movement studio chose the topic of the Jewish Street, and the Design studio worked on the Culture Dialogue.
Interviews with the campers:
"Hello, my name is Viktor Rokitko and when I first came to summer camp with my elder brother, I was young – maybe 8 or 9 years old. In a few weeks from now, I will be leaving for the Jewish Agency's Na'ale program. In between these two events, I have graduated from several different youth projects of the Jewish Agency. Of course, I have gained a lot of knowledge and friends, but there is something even more than that. Jewish activities have become a part of my life. Today, as I am leaving home and moving to Israel, I am not going to a place that is completely foreign. I know a lot about Israel and I know exactly why I have chosen this program. This year’s camp was different for me, because the information about Israel was not just interesting, it was vitally important to me. I must have tired out the Israeli counselors with my questions. Many of them had made aliyah through Na'ale,, and they shared their experience with all of us which was very helpful. So once again, I want to say a sincere thank you to the people who made this and other Jewish Agency camps possible. I hope I will succeed in Na'ale, as many of my friends have."
"Through the Jewish Agency camps, children also get to know about their Jewish roots, historical heritage and aliyah options. Nothing is more important in life than learning about who you are and where you come from.
"I'm Elena Pasikhova and I'm 16 years old from Vinnitsa. This is my fourth time at a Jewish Agency camp. I am active in the Jewish community in my hometown and the youth projects of the Jewish Agency are an important part of community. So this camp is no secret for me. I always come to celebrations of Jewish holidays at the JAFI office in Vinnitsa. Being Jewish is being me. My way certainly differs from the way other people live, so I haven’t come up with a universal definition yet. Israel is the promised land of our people, it is a great country with heroic history and hopefully a happy future."
"I love music very much. In my everyday life, I attend a high school specializing in math and physics. But in the camp I can learn some Jewish stuff through music, and that’s fascinating. But in the camp I can learn through music, and that’s fascinating."
"My name is Olga Radchenko and I'm a 17 year old from Kiev. This is my fifth or perhaps sixth time at a Jewish Agency summer camp. My mom brought me to the Jewish Agency activities when I was a little kid.
I usually come on Sundays to the Jewish Agency “Learning Centre” project. Camp for me is everything. It's the program, our counselors, my friends, the genuine interest in art – that makes this camp an outstanding experience for me.
Being Jewish for some people is about the religion and for others it is the State of Israel. For me, it’s more of a cultural thing, and the sense of belonging to an ancient nation. I can’t wait to go on Birthright!"
"For me, camp is everything. It's the program, our counselors, my friends, the genuine interest in art – that makes this camp an outstanding experience for me."
Photo of one of art studio groups at the summer camp in Kyiv (Kiev)
August 2-12, 2010/ Av 5770