Jewish Federation of Central New Jersey

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How We Make a Difference - July 2005

For children throughout the world, summertime is a carefree time during which they can forget about their school studies.  However, that doesn’t mean education should come to a halt when the temperature rises.  As American Jews know, camp can be the perfect opportunity to continue Jewish education and to learn all sorts of things about the Jewish culture and Jewish people in a pressure-free atmosphere – and it’s no different in Israel.  With that concept in mind, the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI), one of Federation’s two overseas partner agencies, is subsidizing summer camp for children, ages 4 – 14, who are new immigrants to Israel.  These young olim (Israeli immigrants) will get the opportunity to strengthen their Hebrew-language skills and become more comfortable in their surroundings.  They’ll also be able to engage in a wide range of summer activities including sports and arts and crafts, as well as gain experience in the use of computer and other such skills.  According to JAFI’s Dvorah Gini, this initiative is the perfect way for youths to meet peers and boost their self-image in informal classes, especially because the parents of these new olim often do not have enough time to devote to their kids’ ulpan (Hebrew language) studies, which are crucial in order for them to eventually succeed in Israel.  “Our camp program,” says Gini, “provides the children with a framework and provides them with the enrichment they so desperately need in order to be successfully integrated in the Israeli school system.”  More than 2,500 new Israeli olim are taking part in JAFI’s summer camp program.

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