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September 5, 2003     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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PAGE 16 HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, SEPTEMBER! By Sarah LeBeau, Director, Camp Etgar Menucha, Chedar Ochel, Ruach and Mercaz 0 these words describe the places, ac- tivities and the sounds of the Flanzer Jewish Community Center's Camp Etgar. Camp Etgar's inaugural sea- son ended July 25, having served roughly 110 Jewish youth ranging from 7 to 14" years old. Camp Etgar was pre- sented in partnership with the Sarasota-Manatee Jewish Fed- eration. The camp ran three, one- week sessions in July, from Sunday through Friday. Campers came from all over Florida -- although 65 per- cent of the campers were from Sarasota and Manatee coun- ties -- and as far away as Mary- land. Campers woke up at 7 a.m. every day, ate a hearty break- fast and then went to flag pole. By the end of a session, any camper who did not know ei- ther the Pledge of Allegiance or"Hatikvah" knew every word of both. Each morning the counse- lors played out scenes from "Days of our Camp," a soap opera developed to teach a Hebrew word for the day. We would sing a few songs and then head offtonekayon, cabin clean-up. 239@fastsigns.com Randy Ames, ABR, GRI REALTOR Watson Realty Corp LTOR 1425 W. SR 434 Longwood, FL 32750 randyatWat @ aoi.com 407-622-8503 Exemplary Service & Superb Results Giilian Wayne, who re- cently moved to Longwood from Sarasota, said, "Camp Etgar was my first overnight camp experience. It was a great way to spend time with my friends from Sarasota and an opportunity to make some new ones from around the state. My counselors were re- ally cool and the evening ac- tivities were a blast. I know the memories from this year will stay with me forever. I wish camp started again to- morrow." When cousins Danielle and Allison Haberer were asked what they liked about Camp Etgar, they said, "We liked it better than our last camp be- cause it was nicer, the cabins had air conditioning and the counselors are nicer at Camp Etgar." When asked what her favor- ite part of the day was, Danielle said, "I loved the dancing, that was definitely my favorite part. Oh, and the high ropes course, too." Each day after dinner we would sing songs and then dance. The children learned Israeli and modern dances, and what dancing session would be complete without the "Macarena" and the Chicken Dance? Each evening camp- ers enjoyed different activities, ranging from scavenger hunts, to talent shows, to everyone's favorite, "Mr. & Mrs. Ugly." "I loved my counselors," Allison Haberer said with a smile.Allofthe counselorswere Jewish and exemplified the di- versity of the Jewish family. They came from Israel, Minne- sota, Ohio and Florida. They brought fun accents and over- night campingexperiences that helped shape the atmosphere of each cabin and the overall camping experience. The biggest success of the summer was watching the campers' transformation. The first days of camp, the camp- ers weren't so sure about what it meant to learn about Israeli culture or to do Israeli danc- ing. What we saw by the end of a session was a camper who loved to learn about Israel, who knew Hebrew words, and who loved at least one Hebrew song that they might never have learned anywhere else. At Camp Etgar, campers were among fellow Jews. They we re with other kids who knew what schtick and Shabbat meant; they didn't have to ex- plain what it meant to be Jew- ish. They were able to em- brace Judaism and be proud about being Jewish. Schlicha Vered Rozenblum, from Macabim, Israel, taught dances, led songs, planned amazing activities and encour- aged the other counselors to do the same. Rozenblum brought a level of tireless en- thusiasm that could only have come from a well-trained schaliach. The Jewish Agency in Israel trains the schlichim. Rozenblum was not only a stu- dent, but she also taught a few sessions. Camp ended with many tears and more smiles. "When each camper arrived off the bus they were smiling and so excited to share all of the de- tails of their experience with us," said Pare Axelrod, parent of a Fort Myers camper. Her LINDSEY GREENBERG and FlSHMAN participate in the campers and counselors sang "Hatikvah" every morning. children had never been away from home for more than an overnight prior to Camp Etgar. Camp will run next year for five weeks, beginning on June 27 and ending July 30. Parent Kitt Kearney said, "My daugh- ter, Hylynn, had another great time and is looking forward to next year." Hylynn attended all three sessions of camp. Lisa Tolep, morn of a Ses- sion 3 camper who was at- tending overnight camp for the first time, wrote via e-mail, Israefi counselor j "I just wanted to thatAmanda Fridaywith this and told me she time of her life at Camp She love course, archer I want to thank you for making wonderful. She come back next yead" Camp Etgar was the Day Spring Center in Ellenton. SEARCHING FOR A REFORM SYNAGOGUE THAT CELEBRATES JEWISH TRADITION & WARMS YOUR HEART? PLEASE JOIN US FOR OPEN HOUSE Date: Friday September 12th WITH FAMIILY SHABBAT SERVICES TO FOLLOW CONGREGATION BET CHAIM 1033 SR 436, SUITE #153 (IN THE SUMMIT PLAZA), CASSELBERRY (LEARN ABOUT THE NEW TEMPLE FACILITY WE ARE BUILDING !) 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Network+" Certi~ed Brent London IvlCSA, MCP, A+, Network+ 1252 Wellington Terrace MaiUand, FL 32751-3448 BLSolutions@hotpop.com (407) 421-8163 (cell) (407) 834-7311 (home) References available in numbers NEW YORK--Forty-one ishZionist Education.Jewish North American young adults community federations spon- -- the largest number of par- sor participants, aged 20 to ticipants since the current 26, to help defray costs. wave of Palestinian terror Providingparticipantswith against Israelis began in Sep- the opportunity to live in Is- tember, 2000 - arrived in Is- rael, and to be an integral part rael last week to live and work of its society, shapes OTZMA for 10 months through United programming and activities. Jewish Communities OTZMA. OTZMAnikim spend their first The participation rate rep- three months living, volun- resents a threefold increase in teering and studying Hebrew the numberofyoungmenand in an absorption center, fol- womenwhotookpartlastyear, lowed by a period performing reflecting the imperative of community service projects. expressing solidarity with the Participants also do volun- Jewish homeland and Israelis teer work and live and work in by being with them. youth villages or kibbutzim. "These young men and An added component of this women understand the reality year's program will be an op- of the situation in Israel, and portunity to intern at avariety are committed to spending of non-profit organizations. time and building a connec- "While many people fond tionwith Israelis, which is es- of Israel have questioned go- pecially critical during these ing to the region during these times," said Julie Wise Oreck, tumultuous times, I can't North American Chair of the think of a better time to go," International OTZMA Com- said Michael Mylrea, an mittee. "When you knowthat OTZMA Chai participant your family is in need, that is sponsored by the Madison when you really want to spend Jewish Community Council. time with them and let them "I strongly believe my par- know that you are there for ticipation with OTZblA will them." OTZMAnikim -- make a true contribution to OTZMA participants --- will the State of Israel in a time live and volunteer in Israel in when it needs it most, which avarietyofsettingsduringthis to me is priceless." "As far year's program, called OTZbIA away as Israel might be physi- Chai in honor of the project's cally, it has always been close eighteenth year. to me," said Elizabeth OTZMA, the Hebrew word Koerner, an OTZMAnikim for "strength," is an initiative sponsored by the UJA-Federa- of UJC and the Jewish Federa- tion of New York. "I am con- tions of North America along stantly surrounded by talk of with the Israel Forum, in co- Israei on the news, inmysyna- operation with The Jewish gogue, at home and in my Agency's Department for Jew- prayers. But as much as I hear about Israel, know it very well. on several trips to longest of which weeks, and I have hada( to see its history but I have never portunity to in the people "I want to use this 0 nity to participate i~ not only to develop ~ ip with also to l community at feel the urgency OTZMA Chai resent twenty-two, erated coml lanta; Boston, B: (Connecticut cago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Orange (California fornia), Madison, Minneapolis, New Gabriel ( nah, San New Jersey, South F County (Florida), go to Israel and .' there many of them leave feeling that Israel is Oreck said. "The into the Israeli them to connect peo[ sonal level." For rnation 877-466-896; to otzma@ujc.org. tion can also be www.proj !:~:~