August 2017 – Camp Keren Hayeled – Keren Hayeled

The children of Keren Hayeled can’t go home for the summer as other boarding school kids do. Unfortunately, for many of these children, “home” means incapable, ineffective or irresponsible parents, harmful older siblings, aged and limited surrogate grandparents, the street, or even the police station.

 

So for the kids of Keren Hayeled, camp is not a luxury, it’s a necessity! At Camp Keren Hayeled, our disadvantaged children continue to enjoy our safe haven over summer vacation. Because at Camp Keren Hayeled, our kids are at home. And as you’ll see from the tremendous smiles on their faces and “hear” their joyous laughter, you’ll know why!

 

At Camp Keren Hayeled we use exciting camp activities to teach Jewish values and inculcate life skills that will enable these at-risk children to become contributing members of society. And all this is while our kids are having the greatest time of their lives!

 

In this vein, Girls Director Mrs. Leah Davidowitz has come up with another great idea and theme for this year’s Camp Keren Hayeled! Called “Shemura Zeh b’Teva Sheli”, loosely translated as “being safe-guarded is in my nature”, the theme is based on the Jewish National Fund-Keren Kayemet slogan promoting the protection of nature.

 

But Mrs. Davidowitz has ingeniously extended this theme beyond guarding nature to include safe-guarding oneself from harmful influences while realizing one’s potential for good. Through a variety of recreational and educational activities, the concept of the camp will inspire our children to explore the role of safe-guards in Judaism, as well as the role of natural influences such as family, rabbis and community, in facilitating self-improvement and personal growth.

Thus, all of the exciting activities of the camp simultaneously emphasize the difference between enjoyment and fulfillment; and between merely having fun and taking responsibility. The idea is to teach our children that seeking fleeting joy and fun will not make for a better, truly happy person. Rather, responsibly pursuing one’s personal growth, character development and talents is what brings long-term fulfillment, and makes their current enjoyment even greater!

 

These themes, which are so vital to helping these underprivileged kids attain wholesome Jewish values and enable them to become healthy and productive members of society, are creatively interwoven within each activity.

And they gain even more coherent expression through the venue of the traditional, fun-filled “Color War”, where “Red” and “Green” compete over the value of “safe-guards” (Jewish teachings) vs. “nature” (family, rabbis, community) in making us better people.

 

 

Of course, in the end, both sides win, and all the participants join forces to embrace both stances: The value of remaining committed to Judaism; and the benefit of being loyal to parents and rabbis!

 

What a fun, challenging and exciting way to learn! And since the children play a major role in planning events and taking responsibility for their execution, they actually experience first-hand the advantage and satisfaction of fulfillment over fun and accountability over being care-free.

Thus, this year’s activities are designed not just to entertain the children, but also to introduce them to hobbies and skills which they will then be able to use as productive tools in their lives, while having lots of fun in the process!

 

In the spirit of the Jewish teaching requiring parents to teach their children to swim in order to preserve life, our special swimming program is fun, but also includes basic life-saving and first aid, teaching the mitzvah of “guarding your health”.

 

The theme of water-safety is also floated while boating!

 

Similarly, our courses in delicious cooking and baking emphasize keeping kosher and other uniquely Jewish ways of food preparation, like separating challah.

 

It is also an opportunity to inculcate the important ways in which cuisine contributes to building the home, and can also be used as an aesthetic, lucrative vocation.

The program even includes a tasteful twist this year with a course in fruit sculpture! 

 

Our outdoor activities like hiking or other forays into nature are directed toward raising the children’s appreciation of the world and our responsibility to guard and protect nature in order to preserve the world He gave us.

 

One of this year’s highlights is a nature jeep trek: Four-wheeled fun in which the children go the extra mile by decorating the vehicles according to the themes of the Color War!

And what camp would be complete without various sports and other forms of physical exercise? But Camp Keren Hayeled springs to action by complementing these activities with Jewish teachings on the importance of healthy habits, being “part of the team”, and exerting oneself to reach new heights.

 

 

Please partner with us, so that together, we can enable our underprivileged, at-risk kids – for whom summer camp is not a luxury but rather a necessity – to acquire the Jewish values and life-skills necessary to help them grow into responsible, productive members of society. While also bringing them purpose, joy and hope through an unforgettably fun-filled, action-packed summer extravaganza which they’ll remember for the rest of their lives!

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