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1,200 Israeli summer camp counselors head to North America
This year, the number of summer Shlichim (emissaries)in North America is up by more than 150 from last year.
that summer is almost here, more than 1,200 Israeli young adults will arrive in
North America over the next few weeks to serve as Jewish Agency emissaries at
day and overnight camps throughout the continent.
This year, the number of summer Shlichim
(emissaries)in North America is up by more than 150 from
last year. These Shlichim
will work at more than 200 camps in 150 communities in 35 states and provinces,
including large delegations at camps serving New York, Washington, D.C.,
Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Atlanta.
are hand-picked, experienced Israeli youth leaders who have served in the
Israel Defense Forces (IDF) or National Service, and come to North America to
share their excitement about Jewish life in Israel. At camp, these
emissaries will work as counselors, teachers, nature guides, theater directors,
dance instructors, cooking instructors, arts and crafts teachers, song leaders
and athletic coaches. Throughout the summer, these Agency emissaries also
educate North American youth about modern Israeli culture and form a connection
with campers and fellow staff that often leads to lifelong friendships and a
strengthening of the global Jewish family.
Camp is often the first time young North American Jews learn about modern-day
Israel and have the opportunity to connect with Israelis first-hand. While
campers benefit from learning about life in the Jewish state, the Israeli
get to learn about Jewish life and values in North America, as well. As in
previous years, more than 150 day camp
Shlichim will each live with an average of three host families over
the course of the summer.
According to Ariella Feldman, The Jewish Agency’s director for North America Shlichim Initiatives, this
year more than 500 families volunteered to host summer Shlichim. The host family
program adds a layer of depth and authenticity to the Israel counselor-Diaspora
camper experience and is one of The Jewish Agency’s most successful initiatives
to connect Diaspora and Israeli Jews.
“The host family experience offers both the host family and the Shaliach (emissary) a more
intimate and personal connection,” Feldman said. “The Shlichim get an
opportunity to see what life is really like in a North American Jewish
home. They live together, eat together, talk and share ideas. The Shaliach sees what
day-to-day life is like for the family—what interests them, what concerns them,
what they do for fun, and how they live their lives. The North American family
gets to know an Israeli up close. They talk about their similarities and
differences, and get to form a relationship that often connects them for life.”