A camp tries to reinvent the Hebrew language, so transgender kids can fit in

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By Julie Zauzmer August 11

Photo kids at Habonim Dror summer camp.

Sam Newman starts a cheer after lunch at Habonim Dror Camp Moshava on Monday in Street, Md. The campers rewrote their cheers this summer to use special gender-neutral Hebrew plural nouns. (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)












When Zev Shofar, a 14-year-old from Takoma Park, started going to Jewish summer camp seven years ago, the children all learned the Hebrew words to introduce themselves. “Chanich” means a male camper; “chanichah” means a female camper.

But what if Zev didn’t feel male or female — neither a chanich nor a chanichah?    Read more ….

An evolving experience




Friday 22nd, January 2016 Written by Mira Sucharov



On a little corner of Gabriola Island lies an enclave of old-style Jewish utopianism. Modeled after a kibbutz, campers (chanichim) and counselors (madrichim) talk about heady topics like radical justice, equal worth, unionization, socialism and Labor Zionism.

They learn Hebrew, engage in physical labor and debate topics like whether O Canada adequately addresses the reality of First Nations, the fate of the Palestinians, and how to make a radically inclusive society within Israel. It’s Camp Miriam, part of the network of Habonim-Dror camps across North America. Among the founders of the camp was my grandmother, Marian Margolis, and I spent one memorable summer there as a counselor in 1990.  Read more …



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Hike, swim, fix the world: Kids mix it up at Gilboa camp

jweekly logo    by dan pine, j. staff




Summer camp for Eliza Smith includes more than the typical swimming and s’mores around a campfire. It also includes discussion of Middle East peace and cleanup duty in the bathrooms.

That’s how they roll at Camp Gilboa, a Jewish summer camp in Southern California to which the 15-year old Berkeley High School junior has returned every year since she was 8.

Located in the San Bernardino Mountains, Gilboa encompasses 40 forested acres where campers age 8 to 17 — many from the Bay Area — can hike, make artsy crafts and engage in other typical summer camp activities.   Read more ….

Camp is time off for technology

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February 28, 2014 10:30 am

With cellphones, iPads and computers, children are constantly plugged in to technology. But when it comes time to attend an overnight summer camp, unplugging from technology is crucial.  “The whole idea is socialization and actually talking to people face-to-face and not texting or ignoring them, so we can build community,” said Shelley Goldwater, the executive director of Habonim Dror Camp Tavor, a Jewish overnight camp in southwest Michigan. “They’re so addicted to being on computers and such that they don’t even know what to do with themselves.”

Camp Tavor has always had a “no technology” policy in place for campers. Camp staff have access to computers to plan activities and are allowed to bring their personal cellphones to camp, but are not allowed to use their phones around the campers.  Read more ….

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