Israel Programming at Camp
If you asked a historian a hundred and fifty years ago if they thought a displaced people, with no unified language or location, could one day rebuild an autonomous state in their ancestral homeland after almost 2 millennia… they would laugh in your face. Add in that this people is persecuted for centuries and kept ostracized by societies around it- they’d tell you your dream was simply impossible.
As part of the oldest Zionist youth movement in America, Camp Young Judaea-Texas has always made Israel a central part of our summer experience. Even further, we strive to instill in our campers the sense that Israel is critically important to the life of the modern Jew.
With pride, we teach our campers:
- The autonomous Jewish state of Israel has a fundamental right to exist.
- The accomplishments of the Israeli people in the last seven decades are incredible and worth being proud of!
- Israel is a wonderful place to visit, to learn, and to live!
- The people of Israel are our family and we should support them accordingly
Israel Programming at Camp
Our homeland is a part of everything we are at Camp:
A large delegation of staff come from Israel every summer. We love that our campers can make personal contacts with Israelis of all stripes, and many of them in later years manage to meet up again when they’re overseas! Who knew that little old Wimberley could nurture connections in our international family?
When we speak about key “camp terms” at CYJ—like “counselors”, “activities”, “dining hall”, or “rest time”—we replace those common English phrases with their Hebrew translation. This seemingly small habit helps familiarize our campers with the sounds and rhythm of the Jewish state, making the experience of Israeli life just that much closer to our hearts.
From the dodgeball-like Israeli game of Gaga, to our Israeli dances, to Israeli songs, day to day life at CYJ is saturated with cultural experiences from the Holy Land. The biggest example of this is of course during Erev Israel, a night of Israeli clothes, decorations, and cuisine, celebrating our Israel connection together as a camp!
Other Israel Programs
Educational Peulot: Every aidah (age group) has unique educational programs that they do in the afternoons, and all of them incorporate some element of Israeli content. Most of all is the Maginim (rising 6th graders), who spend their whole summer studying Israeli culture and values, and the Tsofim (rising 5th graders), who learn about the modern state of Israel, the land, and the societies who live there. Also of special note is the Bogrim (rising 8th graders), who learn about building a new society like the Zionist pioneers and fight their way through the grueling but unforgettable “Army Day”!
Caravan Show: Every summer, CYJ is visited by a delegation of Israeli scouts, a popular youth group in Israel. Several of these “Scout Caravan” delegations travel across America, visiting Jewish youth to sing, dance, and teach about their lives in Israel. Our campers LOVE the caravan show and we’re so happy we can host the scouts every season!
Rikud is taught at Camp to every Aidah a few times a week and culminates in our All-Camp Rikud right after Havdallah Saturday night. Everyone loves Rikud and is so excited to dance to all of the songs they have been learning dances to all week. Here is a list of Rikud songs (and their You Tube links) from this summer for you and your campers to enjoy!
Dancing Lasha Tumbai (Sieben Sieben)
Kol Hair Shelanu
Od lo Ahavti Dai
Roses are Red