Monday, November 24, 2008

Summer Reflections

While the weather is freezing in New Jersey and Delaware, but this report from two Ivriada counselors in Southern New Jersey will surely warm your hearts.

On June 16th 2008 we arrived to the community of Cherry Hill, N.J on a mission to bring some Israeli spirit to the kids in the JCC Camps.

A taxi waited for us and took us straight to the JCC. Our first American breakfast… they put something that looks like a white-spare-wheel on a plate, along with an unusual kind of cheese. They told us: "this is bagel and cream cheese"… our first American experience has begun.

After getting over jetlag we were taken to tour the camp, and for people that came from Arad, Israel, the camp looked like a whole city. We walked around the camp and just imagined how it would be with kids running around. One week after, it happened and we were living what we could only imagine in Israel. This is what we were prepared for and now it's our time to do "our thing"!

All of this time we were hosted by wonderful host families who opened their warm hearts and were like our parents and family in the U.S. We changed 4 host families during the summer. Every time we arrived to a new family it was a bit weird in the beginning…new house, new food and new people but every time when we had to leave and move out to a new family, to see the faces of the people that we lived with for few weeks and their feelings towards us showed us that we did a good job. We knew that we touched their hearts and brought Israel into their house. We also got the feeling that now Israel means more to them after they know us.

A week after a week, we became an inseparable part of the camp and the campers' life. We brought Israel and Hebrew to them by teaching them Hebrew words in the mornings and just by being with them. Strong bonds were made with the campers and the staff. So strong that chatting with our American staff-friends is an everyday event with "Facebook" in our lives. We remember how in the first few weeks we didn't know what to do after camp in the evenings. It changed after few weeks. It turned from "don't know what to do" to "which friend's offer should we choose"…how to be with everybody…

Without any doubt, this summer was an unbelievable experience that changed our lives. We keep thinking of it, talking about it and keeping the fire that we started in our American friends' hearts burning!

Thank you to all the people that were involved in this unforgettable summer!

Benny Brest
Eyal Oz, Arad - Israel.