Taking Pride in Being Jewish in Odessa, Ukraine
Ages: 7 – 12
In the port city of Odessa, campers took great pride in being Jewish as they explored the themes of Jewish history, Shabbat, and various Jewish communities around the world. The counselors helped the children translate all the information into a language that was comprehensible to them through text study and the use of creative materials. Campers benefitted from the informal educational environment which was instrumental in building their Jewish identity and a sense of belonging to the Jewish people.
Campers in the midst of painting
landscapes of the Land of Israel.
Paintings being sorted through
for the camp exhibition.
Younger campers at work.
Campers waiting to make group presentations of what they learned in camp.
Shabbat was one of the brightest moments of camps. The campers discussed Judaism, Jewry, Shabbat, and the importance of the mitzvoth (commandments) and performing good deeds. Everyone felt the special Shabbat atmosphere. Even the youngest campers, who usually had trouble sitting in one place for long periods of time, stood quietly as the blessings were said over the wine and challah bread.
Candle lighting is one of the special moments at camp.
Jana Vinogradova, 8 years old.
"Hi, I'm Jana Vinogradova and I am 8 years old. I come from Nikolayev, a city in southern Ukraine. My favorite activity in camp was the fairytale that we wrote all together in a group and also "The City of Encounters" that we built, which wakes up when we get together. When you have a look from above, "The City of Encounters" looks like an ordinary city with houses, staircases, roads and streets, trees and squares. But it's not as simple as it might seem. There's a special keystone in the city, which we never saw because our city was built on it."
Nikita Veretinov, 12 years old
"My name is Nikita and I am 12 years old. It was my first time at camp and now I know more about what it means to be a Jew. I learned about the different commandments, Jewish history, the Holy Land, and modern Israel."
Shalom from the summer camp in Odessa.
August 3 – 9, 2009