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The Jewish Agency for Israel is launching a new program for innovative, informal Hebrew language education at summer camps throughout the Jewish world. The aim is to spark an interest and curiosity about Hebrew among Jewish kids and teens, and to deepen their familiarity with Israeli culture. The program will be launched this summer with the assistance of the Jewish Agency's shlichim (emissaries) who will use Israeli songs, educational games, outdoor activities, sport, cooking workshops and more to provide campers with an introductory Hebrew vocabulary and familiarity with Israeli slang.
Updated: Jul. 15, 2021
Book Review: Hebrew Infusion: Language and Community at American Jewish Summer Camps. Authors: Sarah Bunin Benor, Jonathan Krasner, and Sharon Avni
Hebrew Infusion: Language and Community at American Jewish Summer Camps by Sarah Bunin Benor, Jonathan Krasner, and Sharon Avni uses stories, as well as historical, ethnographic, and sociolinguistic methods to examine the ideologies and pedagogies of Hebrew education in the American Jewish summer camp setting. They uncover and analyze two models of integrating Hebrew into these primarily English-speaking environments: infusion and immersion.
Updated: Jul. 15, 2021
This past year has changed all of us. As we count down until we see our campers once again, we want to take a moment to write a letter to some of the most important people in their lives – camp staff: our counselors, our health center staff, our kitchen crew, camper care team, department heads, office staff, support staff, and everyone in between. In a year that has been unlike any other, you have all made an incredibly selfless commitment, and we struggle to put words to the impact you’re about to have and the gratitude that we already feel for the investment of time and energy that this summer will require of all of us.
Updated: Jul. 01, 2021
Over the last few months, we have been provided with an opportunity to examine the question of the effect of immersive Hebrew learning on the students connection to Israel anew. For the last seven years, we have been evaluating the emerging phenomenon that is Kayitz Kef (‘Summer of Fun’ in Hebrew). The program is supported and managed by the Areivim Philanthropic Group and during the summer of 2019 comprised 12 Jewish day camps. Kayitz Kef is a day-camp Hebrew immersion program shaped by the Proficiency Approach to Hebrew language learning, operating within the framework of JCCs and other camp settings and staffed almost entirely by Israelis, operating entirely in Hebrew. In the summer of 2020, the program pivoted to a mix of in-person and virtual platforms, providing a range of Hebrew experiences, engaging over 2,000 campers through both day and overnight camps.
Updated: Apr. 20, 2021
With all of its devastation and challenges, the past year shone a light on critical issues that many believe will, and should, deeply inform Jewish education beyond the pandemic. As continues to be evident from the contributions in this eJP series from leading figures, understanding our learners as whole people who need the benefits and support that good education offers remains a high priority for Jewish education. Whereas once many educators may have declared that the purpose of Jewish education was to make people more Jewish, we now hear that for Jewish education to be successful it must help to make individuals stronger versions of themselves and more integrated and influential members of the communities in which they live. What the following contributors emphasize is that whether it’s in classrooms, campsites, conference centers, or online, we are witnessing a Jewish education sector that has risen to the occasion of this pandemic, and in doing so also begun to pave a way for thriving Jewish education into the future.
Updated: Mar. 21, 2021
Jewish educators are not just looking to life beyond the proverbial cave and the day after COVID, but are continuing to do what good educators do: reflect on their practice and learn from their prior experiences. From these adverse and confronting times, educators have begun to see pedagogic practices that will impact Jewish education beyond the pandemic. Some educators are bold enough to declare that from this great disruption will emerge tremendous innovation, that the new normal will look nothing like what existed prior to pandemic, or even just that technology has opened their eyes up to new potential and possibilities. Some of my colleagues and I have dubbed these new possibilities as our COVID Keepers – what we think might prevail when all of this is over. We’re proud to share some of our thoughts on COVID Keepers below.
Updated: Jan. 14, 2021
We are getting a lot of questions about how our fields within Jewish education are doing at this unique moment. As the pandemic has continued – and the depth of its impact on life becomes more acutely felt – we continue to try and make sense of the effect this has on Jewish education and how our fields continue to adapt. We try to reflect, often in real time, on what we are experiencing, how we can support educators and families, and what the future may look like. We share insight below from each of our fields – Early Childhood Education, Part-Time Jewish Education, Day Schools, Jewish Camp, Teen Engagement and Education, and College Engagement and Education.
Updated: Aug. 18, 2020
For all of the six years that Sarah Benor, Jonathan Krasner, and I spent researching and writing about the use of written and spoken varieties of Hebrew at American Jewish overnight camps, we never imagined that as our book Hebrew Infusion: Language and Community at American Jewish Summer Camps was coming off the printing press we would be facing a situation in which most of these camps were making the painful decision to close for the summer of 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Though we had some inkling around Passover that camp leadership was grappling with the implications of the virus’s severity, there was still a glimmer of hope that if anyone could figure out a creative way to keep camps open and safe, it would be Jewish overnight camp directors.
Updated: Jul. 12, 2020
Although summer camps are cancelled, ScaVentures Quarantine Quests will connect campers with each other providing content that is fun and meaningful. With 10 years of experience in educational tourism and more than 30 000 happy clients, we moved our games online to allow families and groups of all kinds to feel connected and have fun together, despite the quarantine. As quarantines open up our online games will continue, but not be restricted to the home enviroment.
Updated: May. 31, 2020
On April 30th, after a difficult and thoughtful process, the URJ Camps, and a few other Jewish overnight camps announced their decisions not to open this summer. In total, as of April 30th, almost 20 Jewish overnight camps will not be opening for 2020. It is unprecedented and painful for everyone involved. There are an additional 144 Jewish overnight camps, sharing their pain and sorrow over this decision.
Updated: May. 11, 2020