Summer Camps to Receive $3.6m. for Israel Education Project

The Larry and Lillian Goodman Foundations has awarded a four-year, $2.3 million matching grant to the iCenter and the Foundation for Jewish Camp (FJC) to establish a joint project, the Goodman Camping Initiative for Modern Jewish History. A matching component has been fulfilled by The Marcus Foundation and the AVI CHAI Foundation, who are jointly contributing a $1.3 million grant to the program.

The initiative targets independent Jewish camps and builds upon other Israel education initiatives in the camping world funded by these foundations and others. The objective of this new initiative is to enhance and expand the modern Israeli historical and cultural teachings at nonprofit independent Jewish overnight camps, forging an even greater connection between campers and the Jewish state.

“Over 70,000 campers and 10,000 counselors attend Jewish overnight camp each summer,” explains Jeremy J. Fingerman, CEO of FJC. “There they explore their religious and cultural identity in joyful, interactive ways that are impossible to replicate in other settings. The opportunity for Israel engagement in an experiential learning environment is enormous.”

Beginning in summer 2012, participating camps will feature an in-house modern Israel educator and five senior staff who have been intensively trained in a learner-centered curriculum. The first cohort, which has already been selected, will be made up of 12 camps and the program is geared to expand to 36 camps over the four year period.