April 20, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Israeli Staff Bring Flavor of the Jewish State to Camp

Flanders—At JCC Metrowest Camp Deeny Riback this summer, Shai Arad, Noy Deri, Asaf Argov and Adi Sharon are bringing Israel to NJ, and perhaps bringing some of New Jersey back to Israel. Hundreds of young Israelis are working at Jewish summer camps this summer, as they do every year, sharing their personalities, their histories, and their Israel-ness with their campers, and leaving those campers with lifelong associations and memories.

The four join the CDR staff to share their love of Israeli culture with the campers in specialty areas such as dance, mountain biking, scouting and mitzvah madness. They are in their early 20’s and have finished their service in the Israeli armed forces. Families in Morris and Essex Counties have opened their homes and hearts to them, giving them an opportunity to experience American family life when they are so far from their own families.

The camping department of JCC Association, the leadership network for Jewish Community Centers in North America, helps to facilitate the selection, training and placement of Israeli shlichim for hundreds of JCC day and resident camps every year. This year, almost 350 Israeli counselors are working throughout the network of JCC camps—the largest network of Jewish camps in North America—and impacting campers in a myriad of ways.

“Camp Deeny Riback strives to create meaningful connections between our campers, camp staff and Israel, and the most significant way this happens is through the personal relationships formed between Israelis and Americans,” says Julie Perlow, director of the JCC MetroWest day camp. “Short of bringing all the campers to Israel, the next best thing is bringing Israelis to camp.”

Camp Deeny Riback, located in Flanders on 35 acres of fields and trees, serves over 350 children ages 3 1/2 to 15 each summer. As the premier Jewish Day Camp in Northern NJ, the camp offers a full traditional summer day-camp program. The program includes swim, sports, arts, weekly special events and special guests. Older campers participate in off-site trips to fun destinations.

The oldest group develops their leadership skills by working with younger children, learning from specialists and developing and implementing their own social action fundraiser.

“At its core, shlichut is a bridge between Israel and the Diaspora. It is a way to bring a very personal Israel to the Jewish community abroad,” said Abigail Pickus in the daily Web magazine eJewishphilanthropy. “Instead of the drumbeat of bad news from the Middle East, a young Israeli can personify a vibrant, fun-loving, energetic Israel, a Jewish homeland all Jewish children are proud of.”

“Having one of the shlichim live with us was like getting a big sister for the summer. I will visit her when we go to Israel one day,” said a CDR camper.

For more information contact Julie Perlow 973-530-2901 or [email protected].

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