Finding a Jewish Connection at a Family Camp in Hungary

June 23, 2008

Source: Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)


The Jewish camp in Szarvas, Hungary played host to eighty Hungarian Jewish families for five days this summer. The camp, which has provided Jewish camping for youth from 18 countries since 1990, has been running a unique program of family oriented activities for Hungarian Jewish families for the last four years.


Many of the attending families are ex - Szarvas campers and staff who have married and settled down in Hungarian communities where there are almost no Jewish programming and community activities for young Jewish families. In order to provide an intensive annual Jewish bonding experience for these families, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation have agreed to open the camp early to provide them with a unique Jewish life experience.


Michael J. Jordan, a JTA correspondent serving in Bratislava, Slovakia, tells of his five days at Szarvas with his converted wife and two young sons who underwent their first meaningful Jewish experience. He describes how he and his family along with the other Hungarian families experienced the "Szarvas feeling" and "openly, freely proclaim their Jewishness".


The Szardas Camp serves Jewish youth mainly from Eastern and Central Europe as well as from other areas around the globe every summer. Campers, aged 7-18, attend 4 two-week sessions, 500 at a time. They enjoy a rich camping recreational program with much Jewish content. The camp provides tasty kosher meals, optional daily prayer and Shabbat services in the Beit David Synagogue.


Recently, the camp has been running the Szardas Fellowships for Jewish high school student leaders from North America who attend the camp as equal participants with their Jewish peers from around the world.


Reviewed by JTEC Portal Team

Updated: Jul. 22, 2008