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Summer Camp 2005

R E P O R T

O ne of the major tasks of the Lauder Foun­dation in Poland is sponsoring and organizing Jewish educational camps. The camps provide a place where families, youth, and el­derly Jews from Jewish orga­nizations throughout Poland who desire to learn about the Jewish tradition and religion can meet and have a „Jewish living experience”. They also desire to meet other Jews, learn and spend Shabbatot together. They enjoy having the opportunity to combine the educational experience with rest and relaxation. Ê

S uch it was since the camps first started in Zaborow followed with camps in Komorow, Ry­chwald, Srodborow, and La­dek Zdroj. The initial role of the Foundation in Poland, guided by Rabbi Chaskel Bes­ser, laid the groundwork for the continuning growth and success of the unique camp programs. From the contri­bution of former directors and their efforts emerged a new generaiton of educated individuals who are presently involved in programs sponso­red by the Lauder Foundation and in Jewish communities throughout Poland. The last winter camp was under the supervision and direction of Mateusz Kos and Dorota and Baruch Ciesielski.

T his summer’s camp took place in a resort in Wisla with a total of 130 par­ticipants. Among them were entire families, seniors, 20 children and 10 young people (13 to 18 years old). The camp was 11 days long and inclu­ded two Shabbatot. During the first Shabbat we hosted a special guest from London, Rabbi Heschel Gluck, who has been coming to our camps for several years as a scholar-in-residence. A special warm atmopshere filled the camp during both Shabbatot. The last havdalah was particularly poignant as people prepared to leave each other for their homes and their own com­munites.

A t the camp we espe­cialy emphasized the children’s program. Over twenty kids were divid­ed into two groups according to their age. Every day they had a full-time program with experienced teachers. During the camp they learned about Jewish history and symbols, about prayers and Jewish customs, about ethical values of Judaism and many others topics as well. The program was realized in the form of games and activities, both indoor and outdoor. Kids also took an active role in the evening programs. For several days, the children worked on a show about Noah and the ark which they presented for all of the participants at the end of the camp session.

T he youth at the camp were involved in a se­ries of meetings, discus­sion and lectures designed especially for them. These activities were prepared by many people, their topics va­ried from Torah and Talmud, to the current situation in Israel and prospect’s for the future of the young Polish Jews, different aspects of Je­wish Law, and others themes.
But the camp was also a time of rest and creativity. The tee­nagers worked all week on a 40 - minute cabaret perfor­mance for the entire camp. The show consisted of dance, songs, drama and humor - all with a Jewish theme. Overall, the youth proved a lot about themselves and benefited a great deal from the camp - intellectually, spiritually and socially.

T he youth and children activities, as well as lec­tures and discussions often took place outside, from where one could see the picturesque view of the mountains and the town.

E ach day, apart from the prayers, was filled with informal meetings, hev­ruta learning, lectures, and discussions - not only about the tradition and religion. For example, one of the themes was „How to Become a Better Person” - about the need of teshuva. Topics also included „Do We Need the Talmud To­day?” There was a “Daf Yomi” class daily in the mornings, introduction to Kabalah in the evenings, a daily class on the 10 Commandments, and open meetings with the rab­bis. We also dealt with current topics and issues shared by all Jewish communities, like the situation in Israel, taking care of the Jewish heritage in Poland, and even organ do­nation in light of the Jewish Law. One permanent lecturer and teacher was rabbi Zelig Avrasin. As it is a custom, but also a privilege, we had rab­bi Michael Schudrich, who is our steady supporter, visit us. Apart from many conver­sation with the campers, he gave a very interesting class and answered many various questions.

A nother important event were evening programs. One that drew almost all campers was the soccer game Poland vs. Israel. There was also eve­ning with a bonfire and DVD of Mordechai ben David, a Jewish knowledge bowl, a fitness contest, questions to the rabbis, an evening of me­mories of the childhood days of the most senior campers, the children’s program, the Jewish Youth Cabaret, and the final evening program and the handing out of the prizes.

I ncluded in the camp was also one field trip du­ring which we toured the beautiful surroundings of Wisla, an old, traditional Go­rali (mountain) house, and the folk art.

T he success of the camp was made possible because of the coope­rative efforts of all the staff, which through their good ideas, their energy, and good meals and hard work created the atmosphere of a real Je­wish home.


   
   
   

Our staff and special guests


Rabbi
Michael Schudrich

Chief Rabbi
of Poland

 

 

Rabbi
Hershel Gluck

Rabbi from Stanford Hill, London

Rabbi
Schlomo Zelig Awrasin

second Rabbi of Warsaw

Bella Szwarcman - Czarnota
“Midrasz” magazine journalist, lecturer

Rabbi
Josh Spinner

VP, Ronald
S. Lauder Foundation, Director of
Beit Midrash d’Berlin

Yehuda Sharon SOCHNUT (Budapest)

 

Robby Berman
founder and director of Halachic Organ
Donor Society

Tamas Barasz
Rabbinical student in Beit Midrash d’Berlin

Yossi Levy
Counsul, Israeli
Embassy in Warsaw

 
We appreciate the dedicated efforts of Jakub Kowalski, Ezra Stelmach, Max Jackl, Mateusz Lichwa, Paweł and Ola Bramson, Zuzia Kasz, Sonia Adamczak, Jakub Staszewski, Lucyna Lipman and Magda Sadowska. We are grateful to the Sochnut for the participation of Esti Greenbaum and Tal Altar and to the JDC for the participation of Jennifer Cole.
       
       
       

 

 

Our directors

DOROTA CIESIELSKA

BARUCH CIESIELSKI

 

 

 

 

 

MACIEK PAWLAK

 

HADASSA PAWLAK