New Campers2Gether Initiative to Bring 1,500 War-Affected Israeli Teens to US Summer Camps

“Campers2Gether” is a new initiative which will bring 1,500 Israeli teenagers who have been displaced or otherwise affected by the Swords of Iron War to Jewish camps in North America and across the Jewish world in the summer of 2024.

Launched by The Jewish Agency and Mosaic Teens, a division of Mosaic United, in partnership with the Foundation for Jewish Camp, Campers2Gether responds to today’s stark realities for Jewish youth both in Israel and in Jewish communities across the globe. Teenagers in Israel, particularly youth evacuated from the Gaza envelope and northern Israel, are dealing with loss and uncertainty. On the other side of the ocean, world Jewry is dealing with antisemitism and disinformation campaigns about the situation in Israel.

“For so many of us in the Jewish community, some of our fondest memories come from summer camp — a thoughtful, safe environment where we were able to practice independence, make new friendships, and learn about ourselves,” said Mark Wilf, Chairman of The Jewish Agency’s Board of Governors. “Campers2Gether now takes the transformative power of the Jewish summer camp setting to the next level at a time of unprecedented need for the Jewish people. The program will generate positive experiences for affected Israeli teens, utilizing the camp community to convey a healing sense of unity, while simultaneously providing a platform for global Jewish youth to understand Israel on a personal level.”

Campers2Gether will provide Israeli campers with a respite from the current upheaval in their lives, enabling them to reinforce their resilience, revive their social connections, and regain confidence and self-esteem. They will also immerse themselves in the Jewish values, culture, and traditions that are hallmarks of the Jewish summer camp setting, helping them connect to their own identities and the larger Jewish community. Moreover, campers from both Israel and North America will forge meaningful connections that foster their sense of Jewish peoplehood.

Avi Cohen-Scali, Director-General of the Ministry for Diaspora Affairs and Combating Antisemitism, stated, “The future of the Jewish people depends on the investment we make in the next generation. Campers2Gether not only provides a reprieve for Israeli teens who experienced terrible tragedy On October 7th and need to heal, but also nurture the bonds that unite us as a people.”

Campers ages 14-16 will be grouped in cohorts of up to 20. Campers2Gether begins with pre-camp cohort activities and concludes with post-camp cohort meetings. Supplementing the experience are therapeutic activities and counseling sessions facilitated by professionals.

“We have long believed in the transformational power of mifgashim between Israeli and Diaspora teens,” shares Alana Ebin, Director of Mosaic Teens.  “Amidst a summer fraught with challenges, Campers2gether offers a unique solution: if teens can’t travel to Israel, then Israel will travel to them.”

This endeavor is just the latest in the space of summer camp and teens for Mosaic United, a joint partnership between the Israeli Ministry for Diaspora Affairs and Combating Antisemitism and global Jewry.

Camp staff, including camp directors in North America and educational leaders in Israel, are receiving trauma-informed care training to help attune them to Campers2Gether participants’ backgrounds post-October 7. Israeli staff being recruited to accompany the campers on their journey will receive extensive training and also prepare for the summer with training that expands their understanding of North American Jewry, including insights on antisemitism. In many cases, campers from Israel will be accompanied by staff members who are from their home communities, providing a sense of comfort and familiarity.

Subscribe to the Mosaic United newsletter

* indicates required