Itinerary Summer 2010

Brochure 2011

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“The internal development that will take place over the course of the summer, I am looking forward to finally "giving something back" to the Jewish community at large. After much discussion, Orlee, Michael and I have concluded that the majority of the American counselors chose to participate in Camp Koby in order to actively display their solidarity with Israel in a meaningful way. After spending the entire school year hearing of countless terrorist attacks in Israel it became clear that our desire to volunteer would be most appreciated in Israel. No longer content with merely raising funds for organizations, we decided to take our responsibility to Israel one step further”.

“I don't know what to feel. Being a counselor was both uplifting and somewhat disheartening. While the cheerful aspects definitely outweigh the more sullen ones, one thing remains evident: They have not succeeded. Hamas, Fatah, Hizbullah, the Aksa Brigades and many other terrorist organizations have labored tirelessly over the last four years trying to remove every ounce of security and delight from the Israeli people. After spending the beginning weeks of my summer at Camp Koby, it is apparent that only have they not succeeded, they have failed miserably”.

“Before Camp Koby began, I was not really sure what to expect. We were taught and prepared to cope with a crying child, or one that perhaps was too depressed to talk to other people. As a result, I pictured the camp as one with a sullen atmosphere, with the counselors prepared to provide support around the clock. I could not have been more wrong. Camp Koby is the happiest camp in the world. Chanichim, (Campers) as well as madrichim (counselors) spend 10 days with smiles on their faces. There is no better place in the world.”

“Instead of focusing on the hardships that come along with what we are doing, the campers indulge in the positive side of everything. From our chessed work, we learned how brave these Israeli children are, continuing to enjoy life and recognizing all it has to offer, no many how many bad sides of life they have seen. What is so special about witnessing the strength these kids have is that we can learn to do the same. Along with the kids, we learn to appreciate every daily activity we indulge in, whether it is at a summer camp in Israel or during our daily life in the United States. We not only learn how amazing these kids are, but they also show us how to strive to look at life the way they do. All in all, the 10 days I spent at Camp Koby, with the most positive and glowing kids I have ever met, were the best and most influential days of my life.”

“I was amazed when my campers, who had never revealed any sort of religious conviction until this point, arrived at synagogue with a prayer book in hand to welcome the Shabbat. They welcomed the "Shabbat Queen" enthusiastically with their singing of Lecha Dodi and during the Friday night meal, I was amazed by the Shabbat atmosphere that the campers created. They sang Shabbat songs in torn jeans and tank tops, a sight that is rarely seen in West Orange, New Jersey. I was truly inspired. My experience at camp this past Shabbat showed me the extent of Camp Koby's uniqueness. Here, hundreds of children, in camp together because they lost a mother, father, sister or brother to terror, created a genuinely uplifting Shabbat. The holy presence of Shabbat was tangible, able to be felt by all in the dining hall. I am devastated that my summer at Camp Koby is coming to a close, but I have made incredible memories, such as this memorable Shabbat. I am so thankful for the opportunity to have such a deep and rewarding summer.”

“Israel is now a place with its own unique culture, where five million Jews form the backbone of a very diverse state. The disengagement has faces; whether it is the face of the camper who lives in Gush Katif or the madrich (counselor) who will carry out orders in less than one week's time. Israeli teenagers are devoted to giving; whether it is volunteering at Magen David Adom or at Camp Koby and Yosef. Therapy now includes yoga, dance, sailing, drama, writing, sports, horseback riding and dog training. Ra'anana and Efrat are two loving communities that graciously opened up their houses for us over Shabbat and sought to discover what it was that we could teach them. And terror victims can lead happy lives. They live happy lives.”

“It is difficult to believe that some time in the near future we will be boarding the plane to New York. We know that no matter what happens after this summer, we will be different people because of it. It is not going to be easy to leave all this behind after we built such strong connections to the kids and Israel. On July 4, when we got on the plane for Israel, we walked into an experience we will always remember. Now we are walking away with lessons we will never forget”.

Robin (Rivka) Berger, Summit, New Jersey USA:

I think it is wonderful that Camp Koby brings American teenagers over to be of help to Israeli youngsters who were victims of terrorism and to learn from them too.

Justin Scheininger, Potomac, USA:

This camp is absolutely incredible. It is so important for us to recognize the emotional impact of terrorism on the people who lost their loved ones and that we support such healing programs. Check out this amazing organization's website at www.kobymandell.org

The Hoffman family, Lawrence, New York, USA:

WAY TO GO!!! You guys are really performing a true chesed by being counselors at camp koby. My husband and I have been involved in the organization's work and it's fundraising - but you guys are really "on the front scenes" which is truly something to be proud of.