2017-04-12 / Voice at the Shore

Experience Israel this summer—in your own home

FEDERATION AT THE SHORE
KIRK WISEMAYER
Executive Director Jewish Federation of Atlantic & Cape May Counties

Naturally, there is no better way to experience Israel than visiting Israel, but there is a way you can add a taste of Israel to your summer without leaving home.

For almost two decades, as part of our Partnership2Gether initiative, Jewish Federation and the Katz JCC have been bringing Israeli young adults to our community to add a taste of Israel to Camp by the Sea. Campers connect with Israel through their interactions with the dynamic Israelis who come here each summer to work with them.

Funded by Jewish Community Foundation and your gifts to the annual campaign of Jewish Federation, the Summer Shlichim Program covers every counselor expense other than accommodation, and this is deliberate.

What better way to immerse young Israelis in the social and cultural fabric of our community than to house them with local families? What better way is there for you and your family to get to really know young Israelis, and understand what life is like for them in Israel, than to host one in your home?

This year’s counselors are truly exceptional, handpicked by the JCC’s Josh Cutler – in Israel! Three of them will be part of our community during the months of June, July, and August: Noam Hagilady, who will serve as Israel Culture Specialist; Itamar Ehrlich, who will serve as Music Specialist & Song Leader, and is a very talented guitarist; and Sahar Rojas, who will serve as Camp by the Sea’s Dance & Drama Specialist.

In addition to their work at Camp by the Sea, Jewish Federation and the JCC will offer community members opportunities to meet the counselors and get to know them. There is no better way to do this, however, than to host one in your home.

Hosting requires a minimum commitment of one or two weeks. Host families are welcome to host for longer, but even a one-week stay will be unforgettable, particularly if you have children or teenagers at home.

Like many in our community, I have hosted Israelis in my home many times, and I can honestly say these have been some of the most rewarding experiences of my life. These are friendships that never end, and experiences you will never forget. I have been invited to weddings and other life-cycle events of counselors hosted many years ago, because the host experience made me a part of their families, and they of mine. I have visited them whenever I am in Israel, and they visit whenever they are in the United States. It is truly incredible.

Hosting is certainly a mitzvah, but it is also a great deal more. Your generosity will define a counselor’s American experience in ways neither of you can appreciate until you have experienced it. Similarly, the impact on you, as a host, is more tangible and lasting than most any other mitzvah you will perform in your lifetime–and it is a lot of fun!

If you have hosted in the past, please consider doing so again. If you have never hosted before, do yourself a favor and add a taste of Israel to your summer this year! For more information on hosting, please contact Josh Cutler at (609) 822-1167, extension 138, or camp@jccatlantic.org. 

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