Blog  How to Build a Jewish Homeland in 4 Hours: Israel Day 2017!

How to Build a Jewish Homeland in 4 Hours: Israel Day 2017!

By Lisa Tenenbaum, Director of Israel Engagement 

While Olim ’16 gets to appreciate Israel by spending their summer there, the rest of camp honored the Jewish homeland yesterday by celebrating Yom Yisrael (Israel Day)! Here at CLC, we are lucky enough to have many staff members from Israel, known as the Mishlachat, who contribute to our community by sharing parts of their culture that allow us to learn and gain perspective as Jews. Our Yom Yisrael celebration began after lunch when the camp was divided into four different groups based on individuals that helped build the modern state of Israel in 1948.

In order to truly recreate the establishment of the Jewish state, several members of the Israeli Mishlachat dressed up as these famous Israelis. We met Theodor Herzl, the founder of Zionism who led the Zionist team. David Ben Gurion, Israel’s first Prime Minister and a member of Kibbutz Sde Boker, directed the Pioneers, or the Chalutzim.  The first woman Prime Minister, Golda Meir, led the Manhigim, or leaders, while The Giborim, or heroes, were commanded by Moshe Dayan. These honored guests were introduced to the camp community by none other than Wonder Woman- who is currently being played by the Israeli actress Gal Gadot.

The campers participated in fun activities aimed to help them understand the difficulties faced by the those who chose to live in pre-state Israel. Down at the lake, the waterfront staff created races to see how many people the campers could move from place to place simulating the various aliyot (waves of immigration to Israel). On the main lawn, our visiting faculty facilitated discussions about what is needed to create a Jewish homeland. Then, each group completed various challenges in order to achieve those items deemed necessary to create a Jewish homeland, like roads, schools, hospitals, and a government.

Throughout the day, popular Israeli music played from the sound system as the Israeli staff danced around dressed in blue and white. These staff members really brought the ruach and shared stories about their lives in Israel today. Their efforts were supported by the Machon who helped to facilitate the activities.

We enjoyed a delicious Israeli themed dinner of falafel, hummus, pita and shakshuka. The final activity of the day was an escape room that was live streamed to the entire camp community. When the participants in the escape room successfully unlocked each clue, you could hear the cheers in the Chadar Ochel from the rest of camp. Each clue taught us more about the founding of the State of Israel from the U.N. vote to the establishment of kibbutzim. The last clue in the escape room revealed the word “Tikva,” or hope, something that the early settlers needed in order to create the modern state of Israel. We ended the day by joining together and standing as a community to sing Hatikvah, Israel’s national anthem.

Lisa is the Director of Israel Engagement and Rosh Mishlachat. This is her eighth summer as part of the Limud Team at Crane Lake Camp, but her 18th summer as part of the Leadership Team.  She lives in Wellington, Florida with her husband Barry where she has an internet business, and serves as a B’nai Mitzvah tutor and Confirmation teacher at Temple Shaarei Shalom, the Reform congregation in Boynton Beach. She has three children who are all Crane Lake Camp alumni and remain active and committed members of the Jewish community. She considers herself proud and lucky to call Crane Lake Camp her second home.