An Exploration of Israel Education in URJ Summer Camps
Jewish summer camps are known to be places that cultivate and strengthen Jewish identity. This study examines how Israel Education is integrated into the curriculum of Jewish summer camps. In order to explore the role of Israel in Jewish summer camps, I interviewed individuals in six of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) summer camps. I asked each of them a series of questions probing their camps’ curricular development and how they implement Israel Education throughout the summer.
Through my research, I found that all of the camps integrate Israel into their curricula in some way. Some camps segregate Israel into its own learning activity, and others integrate pieces of Israel Education into many daily activities. It became clear through these interviews, that there is no overarching structure of how to teach Israel in the URJ camps and thus, it is difficult to gauge success. If camps are going to be the educational successes that the Jewish community hopes they will be, they need to do a better job using the strengths of summer camps to better educate the future generations of Jewish youth about Israel and help them uncover their own relationships with Israel. Jewish identity cannot fully exist without Israel identity and this capstone provides some suggested best practices.
Coverage: United States
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Rubin-Schlansky, Hannah. An Exploration of Israel Education in URJ Summer Camps. HUC-JIR School of Jewish Nonprofit Management (formerly School of Jewish Communal Service) Masters Theses. Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR). April 2012: http://www.bjpa.org/Publications/details.cfm?PublicationID=14157
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