04 Sep Coming Together at Summer Camp
Coming Together at Summer Camp
For Natalie, a first-year Shlichah (female Israeli emissary) who worked at Ramah Nyack this summer, coming to an American camp to serve as an Israeli ambassador was a no-brainer.
“I met a group of lone soldiers who told me about a Shlicha they met that inspired them to make Aliyah and join the IDF,” said Natalie. “And I wanted to be that person, that motivational Shlicha, for others.”
This summer, Ramah Nyack welcomed 47 Shlichim (Israeli emissaries) into their staff ranks. A conservative Jewish day camp in New York for children entering Pre-K through 9th grade, Ramah Nyack is a part of the Ramah Organization with strong ties to USY. The Shlichim served as dance instructors, Hebrew teachers, ropes course specialists, sports specialists, swimming instructors, and of course, general counselors.
“While this was not the first time I met other Jewish people, it was the first time I encountered other types of Judaism. In Israel, most Jews are familiar with or practice Orthodoxy but in America, there are more religious streams beyond that,” recounted Natalie. “Everything here was very community-based and welcoming, which was heartwarming to see.”
Natalie was a counselor for rising first graders but with a twist. As a staff member in the Sha'ar program, she was instructed to only speak Hebrew to the campers during the summer.
“Language was obviously the biggest challenge. But as time went on, I established routines with the kids and we have learned to understand each other in a fun way,” said Natalie. “I would love to come back to camp next year; it’s truly an amazing experience for everyone.”