Argentinean Youth Able to Attend Camp for the First Time, Thanks to Reform Jewish College Students
Oct. 9, 2006 When a group of Reform college students, many of them products of Jewish camps, were in Buenos Aires this spring, they learned that many Argentinean children never had a chance to experience the joys and wonder of summer camping. Determined to provide the life changing experience of Jewish summer camp, the KESHER Argentina Ambassadors decided to raise the needed funds.
Now, four months later, 17 Argentinean youngsters are unpacking their trunks and duffel bags from their first camp experience.
We went to learn and take action with the Argentinean Jewish community, said Nathan Render of Beth Emet the Free Synagogue in Evanston, IL, a KESHER Argentina Ambassadors who was instrumental in the fundraising effort. While we were there we saw a problem we could solve. So, as group, we decided to put our money where our mouth was, literally.
The students raised more than $700, which is close to 2,100 Argentine Pesos. The money allowed 17 Jewish Argentinean youth to take part in the NETZER winter camp. NETZER is the international Reform Zionist youth movement with chapters throughout the world.
This is a testament of the mission of our program, said Lisa David, director of the Union for Reform Judaisms KESHER College Department. The students who choose our trip are dedicated to social justice, and their service projects provided them with the opportunity to develop meaningful relationships with the Progressive community in Argentina.
The KESHER Argentina Ambassadors Program has sent Reform Jewish college students to Argentina during the 2003, 2005 and 2006 spring breaks. This program is made possible by the generous support of the David Heller Family Foundation, with additional support from the North American Federation of Temple Brotherhoods and the Lear Family Foundation Alternative Spring Break Fund at the Religious Action Center.
KESHER, Hebrew for "connection" serves Reform Jews and supports Reform chavurot (groups) on campuses through partnerships with all Union congregations, Hillel: the Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, and other campus organizations. KESHER also consults with Reform congregations and summer camps, as well as campus-based Hillel professionals to help them meet the needs of Reform college students. For more information please visit www.keshernet.com.
The Union for Reform Judaism (formerly the Union of American Hebrew Congregations) is the central body of Reform Judaism in North America, uniting 1.5 million Reform Jews in more than 900 synagogues. Union services include camps, music and book publishing, outreach to unaffiliated and intermarried Jews, educational programs, and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism in Washington, D.C.