Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Havurah: Summer camp for teens from Russian-Jewish community in New York

When: July 20 – August 2, 2009

A new program for teens from North American Russian Jewish community is championed this year by Young Judaea in partnership with Foundation for Jewish camp, Jewish Agency for Israel and with support of Genesis Philanthropy Group. The goal of the program is to provide an opportunity for students entering grades 9 through 11 to immerse themselves in the environment where they can evaluate their Jewish identity in the context of the family, friends, community and the world at large. What better way to foster this process then giving the teens a chance to spend two weeks among peers at a beautiful camp Tel Yehudah, that’s set on a picturesque bank of Delaware river in Barryville, New York.

The pluralistic approach to Judaism, practiced at Tel Yehudah will be a perfect backdrop for a program designed for teens from Russian-Jewish Community. Campers of Havurah will be a distinctive part of a diverse community of Jewish teens from all over United States, Canada and UK who come to Tel Yehudah every year. Teens with different degrees of exposure to Jewish culture will be able to compare and contrast their experiences with teens from backgrounds very different from their own. Sharing some of the activities and free time with the campers of Tel Yehudah leadership program, Havurah teens will have an opportunity to develop international friendships which will facilitate better integration process into the mainstream American and global Jewish society.

The focus on Israel, Jewish culture and tradition will be the common denominator for all campers. The counselors and educators from Israel, alongside the ones that come from North America, will guide the discussion specifically tailored to the interests of the Havurah campers. JAFI, which has a wealth of experience conducting programs for Russian-speaking Jewish children in former Soviet Union and in North America, is creating a special educational content and methods that resonate with Havurah participants. The camp welcomes teens who will have their first Shabbat experience as well as those who identify themselves as Israelis. Through educational play and stimulating discussions with peers from different backgrounds, campers will gain an appreciation for the larger Jewish community and one’s role in it.

Naturally, fun is the main objective at Tel Yehudah. Besides the debates and workshops that stimulate minds, every day campers will choose among many amazing outdoor activities such as pool, ropes course with a climbing wall and a zip line, drama, dancing, sports, arts and crafts and more. Campers will have an opportunity to learn or practice Hebrew by means of informal education. The instruction will be divided by skill level.

Besides daily activities campers will embark on a rafting adventure and spend a day in New York discovering a new dimension to the city. The days will be filled with exciting events. In camp teens will have an opportunity to celebrate the spirituality and meaning of Shabbat by observing it in unexpected and exhilarating ways. By the end of two weeks teens will come away with new friendships, amazing experiences, and a real sense connection with the state of Israel.

The program is supported and subsidized by our partners; therefore the camp offers a rate of $675 for a session. Furthermore, your travel expenses wil be reimbursed for air travel for any amount over $100. The campers flying from other cities to Newark Liberty Airport will be picked up and droped off at no additional cost.

For information about the program, please contact Yelena Pogorelsky – Havurah program manager at or 212-303-7462.

Camp Tel Yehudah is the high school leadership camp of Young Judaea, the Zionist youth movement of Hadassah. Our dynamic program of experiential education, activism and leadership development, connects teens to Israel and Judaism. We are a community dedicated to fun, learning and social action. Campers enjoy athletics, music, arts and crafts, hiking, performing arts, out-of-camp trips and many other activities. Located on 150 beautiful wooded acres on the banks of the Delaware River in Barryville, New York, Tel Yehudah draws campers and staff from all over the United States, Israel and the world. We reach out to all Jewish youth – Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist, secular and unaffiliated – to create a vibrant, pluralistic community. The camp is Kosher and Shomer Shabbat.

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