The Jewish Agency for Israel’s Summer Camp shlichim (“emissaries”) are gearing up for yet another impactful season, where, with support from Jewish Federations, 1,500 young Israeli leaders are heading out to join the staff at 158 camps across North America.
Jewish Agency chairman of the executive Maj. Gen. (Res.) Doron Almog was on hand to kick off training for the shlichim, which began back in March and continued up to their departure this month. In partnership with 146 Jewish Federations across North America, the Jewish Agency sends young Israelis, ages 19 to 25, to Jewish summer camps where they impart their experience and skills, creating lasting bonds with campers and forging connections to Israel. The shlichim hail from all over Israel and come from a variety of backgrounds in a true display of the country’s diversity.
Mark Wilf, chairman of the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency, said, “Our shlichim spend the summer at camps across North America. In doing so, they foster genuine relationships with young Jewish North Americans that leave lasting impressions on both the shlichim and the campers. This two-way street of mutual understanding and connection to Israel creates a fabulous experience for everyone and a foundation for a meaningful connection between our communities.”
Jeffrey Schoenfeld, chair of Jewish Federations of North America’s Israel & Overseas Committee, said: “Each year, Jewish Federations partner with the Jewish Agency to bring hundreds of shlichim to our communities. These Israel & Overseas investments by Jewish Federations make possible countless moments of spirited singing around the campfire and meaningful discussions at the camp cafeteria table, which leave indelible marks on the hearts of young Jews in North America and Israel and help strengthen the relationship between North American Jewry and Israel for years to come.”
Gily Ariely, a Jewish Agency summer shlicha from Ashkelon serving at Camp Louise in Maryland, said: “I think representing Israel abroad is such a privilege because we get to make Israel fun, positive and engaging for all those kids who may not have this back home. So their parents often rely on camps being their source of knowledge of all things Israel. As a shlicha, our role is so important because we have the opportunity to shape or reshape someone’s view of Israel.”