Kayitz 2018 – Increasing our Focus on Israel
I recently returned from a trip to Israel to hire about thirty new Israeli staff members. Each year, we have the opportunity to tour parts of Jerusalem to further our own education. This year, we followed the Via Dolorosa and went to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. I always find it fascinating and inspiring to see other people of faith making their pilgrimages to holy sites that are meaningful to them. For many, it is an emotional once-in-a-lifetime experience.
I have gone to Israel over twenty times in the last dozen years on behalf of Camp Ramah. I love seeing how the country has progressed into a modern state, I love the sights and sounds in the market, I adore the food and I am drawn to the connection to our history. I also acknowledge that I see troubling things, conflicts between peoples, poverty, and resignation that change seems so very far away. I love Israel, but I don’t love all of the political decisions that the Israel’s government makes.
At camp this kayitz (summer), Israel will be our educational theme. We are going to engage in age-appropriate discourse about our relationship with Israel. We are not changing our educational approach as much as we are bringing greater focus to this subject. The different backgrounds of our fifty new and returning shlichim (Israeli emissaries) and the experiences and knowledge of our American staff members will add immeasurably to this discussion.
At times, the discussions among people who may disagree might get messy and full of emotion. This cannot stop us from having these discussions. We will work to teach our campers and staff to listen and respect others while also advocating for what they believe.