update deskJewish Diaspora

Ukrainian Jews in Poland offered Jewish-connection camp

The children are offered informal education focused on Jewish identity, heritage, values and customs.

Diaspora Affairs Minister Amichai Chikli arrives for a Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, May 14, 2023. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.
Diaspora Affairs Minister Amichai Chikli arrives for a Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, May 14, 2023. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.

Hundreds of Ukrainian Jewish refugee children living in Poland are being offered informal educational programming this summer that aims to enhance their connection to their Jewish identity.

The educational project, which Israel’s Diaspora Affairs Amichai Chikli launched in Warsaw on Monday night, is a partnership of his ministry, Chabad of Poland and Mosaic United, a global nonprofit that runs programs that strengthen the connection of young Jews to their Jewish identities and Israel.

“Growing up we’d always look to the summer for an opportunity to leave the monotony of the rest of the year behind for an opportunity to play sports, have fun, and build everlasting friendships,” said Chabad of Poland Director Rabbi Sholom Ber Stambler. “For our children, the summer is a unique time where we are able to provide informal education focused on Jewish identity, heritage, values and customs in a more holistic and dynamic way.”

Each partner organization has committed to either directly fund or fund-raise for the programming costs for 200 Ukrainian Jewish refugees, estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. The summer camp includes room and board for families as well as adult programming.

Since the start of the Russian war in Ukraine last year, Chabad of Poland has been helping Jewish Ukrainian refugees resettle in Poland and serving as a spiritual waypoint for those continuing on to Israel and other nations.

“Our hope is that our program will provide these children with some semblance of normalcy and emotional solace this summer, in a fun and inspiring setting,” Stambler said.

Poland has served as the chief gateway out of Ukraine to the West.

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