Region: Kiev and peripheral communities.
Dates: July 2-12 (11-13 years old session), July 16-26 (14-17 years old session)
Camp location: Carpathian Mountains
Brief history of the community: The first mention of the Kiev Jews is dated as 10th century; it is a letter in Hebrew to the Jewish communities of the world with request to gather money for a local Jew. According to the official census there are about 17,900 Jews living in Kiev today.
In 2011 1,014 Jewish children and youth participated in the Jewish Agency summer camp program in the region.
Camp concept: In summer 2012 the camp concept is called the Art Midrasha and consists of Jewish text interpretations through a variety of art forms. The idea of the Midrasha is basically a place where participants study art and Jewish culture through relevant Jewish texts at various workshops.
In summer 2012 the Art Midrasha offers the following workshops:
Jewish Social Art – participants of the group are looking for moments in Jewish communal life that require attention and create social ads and videos that are aimed at attracting attention of the community. Of course, in order to make an ad or a video participants have to explore the issue, its history etc.
Visual – participants try to express issues of Jewish history, tradition and culture through visual art.
Jewish Tradition – this group is exploring Jewish and Israeli history events through Jewish tradition.
Re-post - studying text and the importance of words in various methods of literature using examples of literature and text by Jewish authors.
Debate - the group is learning to ask questions and find answers in Jewish history and today's life.
Paradox - the group uses creative and artistic methodic to explore Jewish heritage.
Campers in the Kiev camp are divided into groups according to their interests.
Each day is dedicated to a certain issue that is explored through various techniques. The issues are: a human being, other people, strangers, creeds, environment, exchange (cultural specifically), Shoah, tikkun olam, being active in the community.
David Israilov, 11 years old, Kiev, 1st time in the camp
Learned about the camp from a Jewish Agency counselor who teaches informal Jewish lessons at Simcha Jewish Day school, where David studies.
"I love everything in the camp, even the food and early raising in the morning!" – says David with a smile. "Here I understood that being a Jew means to believe in God, observe kashrut, Shabbat, and other mitzvoth that one can. Israel is the unique and only land of the Jewish people. When I finish school I will go and see Israel by myself!"
Sabina Enenberg, 12 years old, Kiev, 2nd time in the camp
Sabina says: I'm lucky because my parents work in the Jewish community and I know about all the events happening there. I love going to holidays to the synagogue and stand on the balcony with my mom.
I like the intensive program at camp, and counselors are great.
Being Jewish means remembering about your roots and traditions of your people, and observing some of the traditions when possible.
Israel is the Land promised by God to His people.
I will stay being active in the community and when it is possible I will become a counselor!
One of the most memorable events in the camp: Strategic game “Once upon a time in Tel-Aviv”
Polina Belyakova, the camp director: Here in the camp we often face a challenge that children know the Jewish history but even the events of the beginning of the 20th century sound for them as a fairytale. This time we decided to show them that making decision to go to Israel then was not much different from deciding if you family stays in Kiev or leaves. The goal of this game was to start a dialogue with participants on how decisions are made, which values predominate, what I give to the society, how I am influenced by major events in history".
The plot of the game: Tel-Aviv, around 1910s. A family from the Russian Empire comes to the new Jewish city. The town is only starting to develop. The task of the family is to earn the living, be an active part of the society, and remain a true family.
The choices that participants faced: learn or work, send their son to the army or not, leave the city when pogroms came close, or stay.
Almost every question was visualized with video clips of relevant historic events and different documents.