I have to be honest, I really love my job. There are so many reasons, but one of them is being able to go to Israel once or twice a year. One of the unique perks of working for CYJ is being able to foster such a close relationship between Israel and Camp.
Our first trip of the year is to interview potential summer staff. The Jewish Agency recruits and screens participants through an interview process that includes at least one workshop. We provide direction of what we are looking for and we then do the interviews over a 2-day period. Our goal is to hire 10 to 12 GREAT Israeli Staff. Hiring Israeli Staff is one of the ways that we achieve the goal of bringing Israel to our Campers. What can be better than the Israeli Staff (Mishlachat) sharing their Israel through stories, photos, and programs? Some of the Israelis are on a special program called Honor Soldier and join us in the middle of their army service and some have already finished their service. Because they join us towards the end or after their army service, our Israeli staff tends to be a little older than the other CYJ counselors.
The second trip to Israel is usually in April where we attend a week-long training seminar with all our Israeli staff. This training rejuvenates us and reminds us why we do what we do. Yael Twito and Michael Esposito will be representing Camp at the Training Seminar this year. We will tell you more about this training after they return.
While there, we also interview Year Course participants who want to work at Camp and connect with our former staff living in Israel. We set a date for a reunion dessert to bring together all the previous years’ staff that are in Israel, including last year’s Israeli Staff, Year Coursers, and any other staff on an Israel program. We also try to visit as many camper and staff alumni as we can.
This year’s trip was extra special since I took my 10-year-old son, Jacob, with me for his first trip to Israel. Why a trip to Israel for my son? It is part of a deal I made with all three of my children: when they are fluent in Hebrew, I will take them to Israel. My older son, Elan was first with a trip 3 years ago. I made this deal with each of them to motivate them to achieve something that I wish I had: Hebrew fluency.
Our trip was amazing and even included few new experiences for me. Besides meeting some great potential staff and catching up with alumni, I also had an unforgettable experience with Jacob on my latest trip to Israel. What an incredible opportunity!