Russian-Speaking Jewish Outreach and Engagement Initiative

Foundation for Jewish Camp launched the Russian-Speaking Jewish Outreach and Engagement Initiative (RSJ Initiative) in 2013 to expand opportunities for campers from Russian-speaking families in North America to experience Jewish overnight summer camp. The RSJ Initiative has grown over the years and currently works with overnight and day camps and community partners (such as Jewish Federations) to provide summer camp, family camp, and year-round engagement opportunities. The RSJ Initiative also includes a Community of Practice for participating camps as well as a counselor training initiative, Hadracha.  

FJC also created a best practice manual to assist camps with recruitment and marketing strategies, showcasing success from the field over the years.

Applications for the RSJ Initiative are open year-round and are due for review in October to launch the program in November of the current year. FJC will be in touch with camps or communities as applications are received to begin conversations for the upcoming grant year.

 Bring the RSJ Initiative to Your Camp or Community

Please reach out to Margalit Rosenthal at margalit.rosenthal@jewishcamp.org for more information about launching the RSJ Initiative at your camp or community! If you have questions on which camp would be the right fit for your family, please connect directly with one of the camps listed below.  

Support For Camps

Each camp or community partner that is accepted into the initiative will receive funding to hire a recruiter, market the program, and provide scholarships/incentives for RSJ families.

Camp Directors and recruiters are invited to attend a monthly RSJ Community of Practice from January-May to share recruitment tactics, best practices, and learn from experts in the field.

Recruitment
  

Directors of past and current RSJ Initiative camps have confirmed the importance of having a point person from the RSJ community to work on recruitment and engagement, someone who understands the nuances that are specific to the community. While each individual has their own unique experience and identity, camps have found it invaluable to hire someone who can connect with families in a meaningful way. 

Marketing
  

Spreading awareness about this opportunity is crucial for maintaining high enrollment rates among RSJ campers. Camps often create marketing materials such as brochures (in English and Russian), promotional videos, websites in Russian, social media posts, etc.

Scholarship/Incentives
  

Through the RSJ Initiative, RSJ families are eligible for additional camp scholarships. Eligible campers are required to have at least one Russian-speaking parent or grandparent. FJC provides flexibility to camps and community partners in determining incentive and/or scholarship amounts and additional criteria. 

Hadracha Counselor Training
  

Based on the success of some virtual multi-week internships that FJC piloted in 2020, FJC created an internship specifically for staff members from Russian-speaking backgrounds day or overnight camps in the FJC network. In 2021, FJC offered an eight-session virtual internship, culminating in a project showcase where they shared the programs and resources they created to each other and a group of stakeholders, including camp directors and funders. FJC plans to offer this opportunity again prior to summer 2022. 

If you are interested in this opportunity, or would like to nominate an RSJ staff member for this opportunity, please fill out this form.

Participating Camps

Overnight Camps

Camps Airy and Louise

Camp Avoda

Camp Ben Frankel

Camp B’nai Brith Montreal

B’nai Brith Camp Oregon

Camp Galil

Golden Slipper Camp

Camp Judaea

Camp Livingston

Camp Tawonga

Camp Young Judaea Midwest

Camp Zeke

Berkshire Hills Eisenberg

Eden Village Camp

JCC Camp Chi

JCC Ranch Camp

JCA Shalom

Day Camps

Camp Klurman- Miami Beach JCC

JCamp- Westside JCC, Los Angeles

Community Partners

Atlanta Jewish Federation

Cleveland Jewish Federation

Foundation for Jewish Camp’s Russian Speaking Jewish Outreach and Engagement Initiative has been made possible with the generous support of Genesis Philanthropy Group.