As we can tell from the excitement that has built around Limmud FSU’s Odessa program, the city’s Jewish community is once again thriving. They support more than 20 local organizations such as the Gmilus Hesed welfare center, seven primary and day schools, three synagogues, four kindergartens, an orphanage, two JCCs, a Hillel center, three Jewish newspapers and three kosher restaurants.
This past summer, Odessa was also home to a JAFI initiated summer camp program for 7-12 year olds:
Summer camp, in general, is a time of new discoveries and the summer camp in Odessa was no exception. The theme of the camp was a “City of Roads and Craftsmen” which was based on a fairytale and the campers traveled down a path that led them to many new discoveries. They learned more about their Judaism, Jewish culture and civilization, and delved deeper into their Jewish identity. From the ‘craftsmen’ (the counselors and other staff of the camp), the campers honed their skills in arts and crafts.
The camp program was based on workshops, classes, and evening activities [and] campers were encouraged to express themselves by working with different art mediums and materials. Here’s what one camper had to say:
Hi, I am Lyuba Kravchenko and I’m 8 years old from Odessa.
This is my second time at a Jewish Agency summer camp. I made many new friends last year at camp and I was waiting for this summer to come back and meet up with them again. During this year, I celebrated all Jewish holidays at the Jewish Agency with my friends from Odessa.
Israel for me is a beautiful and warm country where all Jews can live in peace. I hope that one day I can come there and draw everything I will see and encounter.”
camp information courtesy Jewish Agency for Israel