With summer vacations already in full swing across the former Soviet Union, FJC’s Gan Israel summer youth camps are taking place all over the region’s map. This year about 45 camps are expected in seven FSU countries. As every summer for the last 26 years, Jewish children aged 5-15 are welcomed, with camp tuition-free or at a minimal charge.
Some camps are already in progress, such as the two-week day camp in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, Russia. The camp is taking place in the city’s newly-opened Jewish community center. Over 30 boys and girls from all over the Krasnoyarsk region are busy experiencing summer adventures- having fun, learning and making new friends. They have already visited an attractions park, staged a play about Jewish patriarchs (for which they first had to learn the material), ran, jumped and played in the varied activities prepared for them by the counselors.
Other FJC camps vary in sizes and forms: ten are sleep-away, while the 35-day camps vary in length and dates. But one thing can be said for sure- for FSU children Gan Israel camps are probably the best way to spend the summer in a Jewish environment, while really having a vacation. For some families, it is their only alternative to provide a summer vacation experience to their children.
“This was really unexpected. We were invited to join the children for staging a Jewish wedding ceremony at the camp, and they got so into it – they really enjoyed learning about this tradition and to tell you the truth – so did we!” said Marina K., mother of one of the girls from the Krasnoyarsk camp.
The FJC’s summer camp network is operated by the FJC in partnership with the Leviev and Finger foundations, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews headed by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, local philanthropists and additional supporters from across the world.