Summer camp in Jerusalem.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Growing up on the West Coast of the United States, I always looked forward to my summers on the East Coast. I headed to the Poconos to attend Morasha, a religious Zionist sleep-away camp, for eight weeks. At camp, I met friends from other parts of the country and had a chance to learn new skills. Most of all, I had an opportunity to be exposed to Zionism in interactive and fun ways.
Love of Israel played an important role in the themes of color war and camp songs, and as an oft-mentioned topic in camp classes. My most memorable educational experience in camp was a class in which we used stamps, coins and songs to learn about the State of Israel’s history.
On a lighter note, we used Hebrew phrases for the names of our camp divisions, nighttime activities and weekly bunk chores. Only after I made aliya did I find out that some of those Hebrew words would come in handy, and that others had been made up.
While summer camps in the US continue to thrive, many families are choosing to spend the summer with their kids in Israel, to give them a hands-on way to experience the land, the history, the art, the nature, and even the technology.
If you are planning to spend the summer in Jerusalem, here are a few great camp choices that will give your kids a memorable Israeli experience.
Kids can learn about the Land of Israel firsthand by coming to a camp that offers field trips to nature reserves and historical sites. Places like Ein Yael can take campers back in time to learn about ancient crafts that were common in the area, like pottery, mosaic, and musical instruments. Meanwhile, the Jerusalem Traveling Arts Camp at Open Studio uses Jerusalem as a canvas in its field trips to teach kids about architecture, nature and art.
If your child loves animals, make sure to check out the camp at the Biblical Museum of Natural History in Beit Shemesh, where kids can learn about the animals mentioned in the Bible and Jewish scripture, as well as understand the species that live in Israel.
Not only do camps like these teach kids about the past, they also entice them to be part of the Start-up Nation’s future.
The Women’s International Zionist Organization (WIZO), together with BIG IDEA Educational Projects, has created a new camp this year specifically to enable kids and teens from abroad to experience Israel and strengthen their bond with the Jewish state. The One World camp, located in an agricultural youth village up north, uses modern technology and the country’s natural landscape to get children interested in social activism, the environment and green energy. The camp teaches survival skills, animal care, natural art and photography, as well as radio broadcasting production. It is offering an upcoming Jerusalem open-house event at 6:30 p.m. on June 10 at WIZO Jerusalem, 1 Mapu Street.
Children and teens can enjoy a hacker-and-robotics camp at Learning Works, where they will learn about technology, design and engineering through workshops and field trips. And for kids who would enjoy focusing on video animation, the Jerusalem American International School has a special program for school-age children.
For those who want to combine the sleep-away experience with technology, BIG IDEA offers a camp that treats campers like “little entrepreneurs” and gives them the chance to choose their focus, from photography to web design to computer animation and more.
A full listing of summer camps in Jerusalem is available at www.funinjerusalem.com/fun-camps-guide
The opportunities are here, so consider spending this summer (or next summer) in Jerusalem.
For further information: Ein Yael: 645-1866 or email@example.com
The Jerusalem Traveling Arts Camp: 054-626-8496 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Biblical Museum of Natural History: 073-213- 1662 or email@example.com
One World camp: 072-251-3503 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Learning Works camp: 050-595-0185 or shaiel@ thelearningworks.org
Jerusalem American International School program: 054-633-0720 or email@example.com
BIG IDEA camp: (03) 528-5177 or firstname.lastname@example.org The writer is the founder of the Fun In Jerusalem website (funinjerusalem.com). She lives in Jerusalem with her husband and three kids and loves to inspire family fun.
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