Ages: 13 – 17
Campers built their own 'mini Jewish State' to reflect on the question of what it means for them to be Jewish and to strengthen their connection to Israel. By establishing the 'mini Jewish State', the campers created an extraordinary atmosphere of Jewish life at the camp enabling the campers to learn more about themselves, their Jewish identity, and their relationship to the Jewish People and Israel.
Each day at camp had a different sub-topic: personal choices, society, politics and economics, education, culture, tradition, religion, and geography.
One of the highlights of the camp was the workshop on Jewish communities.
The campers were divided up into three groups, where they had the opportunity to become acquainted with one of the three communities. They learned extensively about the community and then cooked one of its traditional dishes. At the end of the workshops, the campers met in their groups and spoke about what happened in each of their groups and what was the most surprising and interesting in the community that they studied.
The counselors dressed up in costumes according to the traditions and symbols of the Jewish community which they had represented.
Quotes from a couple of campers:
"This was my first Jewish camp. Until now, I did not know that there was an organization such as the Jewish Agency for Israel that deals with cultural rebirth of its people. When I went to this camp, I did not fully understand what would happen here. The first day was a little bit difficult because I didn't know anyone. There were so many Israeli flags around and everyone was talking about Judaism. I was worried that I didn't know anything and that I would no be able to participate in the various discussions. But everything changed the next day. I realized that Judaism is not something distant and unknown but something real that I can bring back to my family. Now I will surely participate in the Jewish Agency activities and study Hebrew in the Ulpan."
"I'm going to leave for Israel and this was my last summer camp in Tashkent. I'd like to thank all our local staff who prepared me for Jewish life. The knowledge that I've gained in the Jewish Agency camps and youth clubs has been priceless. I think that all these skills and knowledge will help me in Israel. I wish you and me good luck! "
Shalom from the Jewish Agency summer camp in Tashkent, Uzbekistan
July 18 – 25, 2010, Av 5770