Israel at Camp

In response to the needs expressed by camps, this series presents camp leadership, educators, and seasonal staff with expertise to address some of the many challenges unique to Summer 2024 focusing on two specific groups — teens and younger campers.


Webinar Series


Talking with Younger Campers About Israel with Sivan Zakai

What are some best practices for listening to and speaking with younger children about Israel and the events of the moment during this difficult time? Award-winning scholar and author, Sivan Zakai, in conversation with Anna Hartman, Associate Vice President, JUF Education at the Jewish United Fund, share some of their extensive knowledge about how children in America think and talk about Israel. This session is especially for staff who work with campers up to age 11 and/or support the staff who work with campers up to age 11.

Dr. Sivan Zakai is a thought leader in Israel education. The Sara S. Lee Associate Professor of Jewish Education at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Dr. Zakai’s experience in Israel education includes serving as the Director of the Children’s Learning About Israel Project, of the Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education at Brandeis University and serving as Co-Director of Project ORLIE. Her most recent book, My Second Favorite Country: How American Jewish Children Think About Israel received the 2022 National Jewish Book Award in Education and Jewish Identity.

Israel at Camp in a Post 10/7 World

In our fraught post 10/7 world, conversations about and programming around Israel at camp require a great deal of thought. In this webinar, Laura Shaw Frank, Director of American Jewish Committee’s William Petschek Contemporary Jewish Life Department, will speak about tools for holding conversations about Israel, Palestinians, and the ongoing conflict with nuance, empathy, and moral clarity, while supporting our camp communities in continuing to center Jewish identity with Israel at its core. This session will have CART captioning and will be recorded.

Israel: Inclusivity and Its Limits This Summer (Part One)

Recognizing that staff hold a diversity of viewpoints regarding Israel in this moment, this seminar provides the questions to ask and a framework to consider how to be inclusive and hold boundaries at the same time. What will welcoming a diverse array of views look like and where are its limits? How will camps balance the values of pluralism and Zionism when they are both central to their mission? We explore these questions with Joshua Ladon, Director of Education at the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America and camp colleagues.

War-Time Arguments: How to Talk About Israel at Camp

Watch Robbie Gringras, co-director and co-author of For the Sake of Argument, featuring a workshop on healthy war-time arguments. As you prepare for summer camp, this 90-minute online session will provide you with a few frameworks for thinking about and managing disagreements that might arise about Israel. In addition, you will learn and practice a few specific skills for engaging in healthy arguments, and you will have the opportunity to try out some specific educational material that could be useful at camp with counselors and campers, to learn about and discuss Israel. While this webinar with For the Sake of Argument was not recorded, a detailed introduction to their approach can be viewed here.

Israel: Inclusivity and Its Limits This Summer (Part Two): A Conversation with Camp Leaders

Directors from camps in FJC’s network speak about some of the strategies they anticipate using to address inclusivity, its limits, and Israel education in a post 10/7 world. This session features a panel conversation followed by breakout rooms. Panelists include: Amy Smyler McFarland, Director of URJ Camp Coleman; Ariella Moss Peterseil, Director of Camp Ramah in California; Helene Drobenare, Executive Director of Camp Young Judea Sprout Lake; Rabbi Isaac Saposnik, Executive Director of Camp Havaya. This is a follow-up of the March 20 webinar with the Shalom Hartman Institute.

Click here for an MP3 file of the audio from this recording.  If you would like a transcript of this webinar, please email Amy Meltzer at amy.meltzer@jewishcamp.org.

The Climate on College Campuses: A Conversation with Hillel Professionals

A panel of North American campus professionals shares their insights about the experiences of Jewish young adults on North American campuses and some of the ways they are speaking with and supporting college-age students in response to the conflict and the rise of antisemitism. Panelists include, Dan Gold, Executive Director, Hillel at UCLA; Jonah Zinn, Executive Director, University of Florida Hillel; Shana Zionts, Associate Director, Columbia Barnard Hillel; and Rachel Hillman, Associate Director, Northwestern Hillel.

For questions, please contact Amy Meltzer at amy.meltzer@jewishcamp.org