Campers Celebrate 15 years of Jewish Agency Camping
in Kharkov, Ukraine
Ages: 15 – 17
Special moments were shared during this camp session as campers and staff celebrated the 15th year of camping in Kharkov, Ukraine. Kharkov has been the scene of a vibrant camp framework and approximately half of the campers are returnees. The veteran and new campers and staff reminisced about past camp sessions, and looked through old photo albums together and discussed how their camp has developed throughout the years.
Fifteen years of Jewish camping in Kharkov is a great reason to rejoice!
The camp schedule was hectic and each day a different topic was addressed. On the fourth day of camp, the theme dealt with Anti- Semitism and the Holocaust. After studying the subject intensively, the campers and counselors organized a Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony. The campers were divided into sub-groups and each group prepared a different part of the ceremony and lit candles in memory of the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust. Following the ceremony, the campers concluded the day by discussing their thoughts and feelings on the topic and how they define their own Jewish identity and connection to the Jewish People.
Jewish resistance during the Holocaust was one of the topics studied on the day
devoted to learning about the Holocaust and Anti-Semitism.
On the fifth day of camp, the Israeli counselors led activities on the topic of Israel, Israeli society, and army life.
Israeli counselors teach about the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) and life in the army.
"I'm Ilja Zon. I am 16 years old from Sumy, a town nearby Kharkov. This is my fourth time attending a Jewish Agency summer camp. I like our Jewish mixer in the camp.
Ilja Zon, 16 years old from
There are a lot of good friends here from other places and we meet only in camps. It's just great! For me being a Jew means that I should remember my roots and my history, study about our traditions, and to be together with my friends.
I'm planning to participate in the Birthright program. Many of my friends did it and raved about it. Perhaps, following Birthright, I will go to Israel to study in the framework of MASA. Meanwhile I'm here and I enjoy this camp and looking forward to next month when we meet in our youth club. I've started to visit my local Jewish youth club regularly and really enjoy it. Today, I can say that I'm an active member of our community."
"My name is Tanya Veksler and I am 16 years old. I live in Lugansk, a city in southeastern Ukraine. We have a youth club in my city. My friends told me about Jewish camps and this is my third summer coming to this camp. Most of all I like our evening meetings when we sit all together with our counselors and discuss what was new things we learned during the day and what we think and feel about this.
Caption: Tanya Veksler, 16 years old from Lugansk, Ukraine
I have thought a lot about what being a Jew means to me. For me, it means having a sense that you belong to your people. And for me, feelings are not enough. I believe that one should take an active role in belonging to your people. I, for example, come to Jewish camps and participate in our Jewish youth club. I meet Jewish friends and together we build our future Jewish community. We know our history and traditions and want to be counselors and leaders in the future."
August 6 -13, 2009