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February 23, 2017

Young Judaea-South Florida, Keeping Camp Alive All Year Long…

Written By: Camp Judaea

Young Judaea-South Florida, Keeping Camp Alive All Year Long…

My name is Sivan Raz, I’m 27 years old and this is my second year working as Young Judaea South Florida Shlicha (Israel Emissary). This past year we tried to build a strong group of teen leaders. We are so proud of this team of talented teens who spent hours coming up with programs for their peers and the younger children in the South Florida Young Judaea community.

This past year we organized monthly activities in focusing on different topics but with one thing in common: they all relate to Israel or Judaism.  We tried to share as much as we could from our knowledge with the younger kids so that they feel connected to Young Judaea, Camp Judaea, Judaism and Israel.

During my first year, we participated in volunteering programs at the Kosher Food bank, held a Chanukah Bikurim, celebrated Purim with an overnight at the office and more. This year, we opened with a pool party, gathered for Chanukah, had a terrific day bowling and are gearing up for the annual Bikurim this coming Sunday. In April, we will bring the 5th – 8th graders together for an overnight celebrating the idea of B’nai Mitzvah, and in May, we’ll close the year with a joyous family picnic.

We also take part in community events in Miami and Broward Counties such as Tu B’Shvat at TY park and the annual celebration of Israel Independence Day at the JCC’s and at the CB park.

One of our proudest moments was the return of the Southeast regional convention which was held this year in Ft. Lauderdale. We came together to learn and play, and we hope that next year, more teens will join us!

Our main goals are to bring the community together during the year so families can see each other, not just at camp, but also during the year and to empower our teenagers to plan and lead activities that reflect the values of CJ and Young Judaea.

We are now working on a Hadracha (leadership) course that will give our teens the opportunity to learn the skills of how to be a successful leader and counselor in the community; developing leaders who will ensure a lasting Young Judaea presence even after I return to Israel in the fall.

For me growing up in the Tzofim (Israeli scouts) movement, being involved in the community and leading activities in Israel was a life-changing experience that shaped me as who I am today.  That was my main reason for coming to the States and working in a youth movement. For me, this is an amazing opportunity to see a youth movement working abroad with the same values and passion that I had as I grew up. This past year and a half was so much fun, exciting, educational and meaningful, and I couldn’t do it without the great teens and their families that support Young Judaea with all their hearts.  Let’s have a great Spring and Summer together!

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