Modern Israel History Camping Initiative Already Impacting Campers

“Teens aren’t fooled by anything,” said Jill Pottel. “You can’t pull-one-over on them. So, if you try and superficially get them to invest in something, it’s just not going to happen. It takes investment to establish that buy-in.”

Pottel, the program director of the BBYO International Kallah, recently joined colleagues from 11 other independent nonprofit Jewish overnight camps at the third meeting of the Goodman Camping Initiative for Modern Israel History, a joint venture between the iCenter and Foundation for Jewish Camp. Launched last year with a grant from the Lillian and Larry Goodman Foundations with contributions from the Marcus Foundation and the AVI CHAI Foundation, the Goodman Initiative engages independent Jewish camps in North America in the development of Israel education curriculum.

The goal of the Goodman Initiative is to enhance and expand the commitment of independent nonprofit Jewish overnight camps in North America to the history of modern Israel, and foster deeper connections with Israel outside of camp among Jewish campers across the age spectrum. The 12 camps in the first cohort are midway through a two-year process that trains an in-house Israel educator and five returning staff at each camp. A second cohort of 12 camps began its two-year cycle at the winter meeting, and a third will begin next year.