My twin 10 year old daughters attended Gilboa second session last summer.
Full disclosure: I grew up in Habonim and wanted this summer to be the transformative experience that it was for me throughout my youth. The bar was set very high.
Gilboa exceeded my (very high) expectations. Phrases like, "Gilboa is my second home." And "Gilboa is a part of me" rolled off their tongues the moment they got home.
The madrichim (counselors) were a brilliant and talented group of young adults who clearly have a passion for creative programming, experiential learning, social justice and community. My children came home from camp with a zest and intellectual curiosity about Judaism, Israel, and the world at large, and said they never knew learning could be so much fun.
While Gilboa has all of the traditional camp activities- archery, sports, swimming, kayaking, etc., it truly emphasizes community. My daughters felt a deep sense of belonging, felt held and cared for by the older campers, and were proud of their responsibility for their community. Both used the word, "free" a lot when they described Gilboa in the many months after their attendance. They felt "free" to be themselves. "Free" to express themselves without judgment and "free" to be creative, silly, and fun.
My daughters felt that Gilboa was a safe haven. From that place of security, I saw that they could expand and grow at a rapid rate. Their curiosity and love for Judaism, commitment to social justice and the environment continues to blossom. It's clear to me that Gilboa runs deep at the core of this budding and exquisite development.
Good things are happening at Gilboa! We've had a year rich with profound education, an active community and an ever growing circle of supporters. And it shows in the many campers already registered for camp so early in the season, as well as in community awareness and recognition.
Here's some of what happened this year:
Young leadership and Youth Empowerment
We stepped up our leadership program for 14 through 16 year olds. They planned camp activities, mentored younger campers and now participate as leaders in year-round activities. And, Gilboa madrichim and chanichim achieved a score of 97 at a health inspector visit, demonstrating the care and sense of ownership they feel for camp.
With additional Israeli summer madrichim, campers explored Israeli history and culture, as well as their experience as Jews during these challenging times.
Community Outreach and Tikkun Olam
Our madrichim brought Habonim unique Israel and Jewish identity education to local day schools, Hebrew schools and other community organizations, and our campers, alumni and families participated in the Walk to End Genocide, Big Sunday, Projects to help Syrian refugees, a drought awareness campaign and beach cleaning.
We have now paid over 2/3rd of the purchase price for our beautiful Camp Gilboa site! And, we completely renovated our pool with a grant from the Los Angeles Jewish Federation.
JCamp180 Board Leadership Award
JCamp180, the national organization supporting Jewish camps, awarded the Outstanding Board Leadership Award to Gilboa's president of the board, Liz Bar-El. The organization cited the "...ongoing impact on a Jewish summer camp's long term vitality and sustainability" and noted in particular achievements in long term planning and the purchase of the state-of-the-art new Gilboa campsite.
AND KADIMA - LOOKING FORWARD TO 2015
And looking forward, we are lucky to welcome two people to the Gilboa Team!
Rosh Summer 2015 - Elana Bloomfield
Elana hails from our sister camp Machaneh Miriam, and will be graduating from McGill University with a double major in Political Science and History. Elana has worked at Gilboa for the past two summers as madatz madricha (in charge of the CIT program) and rosh chinuch (educational director). In addition to her vast Habonim leadership experience, Elana gained other valuable community building and individual support skills working as a resident student adviser and as a coordinator and workshop facilitator of the Sexual Assault Centre at McGill University, as well as at a Hillel Leadership Initiative internship. Elana has relentless positive energy and a deep commitment to education, community and to the youth movement and its values, and is sure to lead a superb summer for our chanichim. More from Elana in the next issue.
Outreach Director - Noam Yaillen
Noam joins as a year-round staff member, in charge of campers enrollment and educational outreach. Noam grew up at Gilboa's sister camp Mosh (in D.C.), worked in Tavor and Galil as a madrich (counselor), Rosh Chinuch (education director) and Madatz Madrich (in charge of CIT program). Noam studied in Oberlin College and graduated with a religion major. He has been a Hebrew School teacher for 3 years, and in the past year has been working as an outreach coordinator in Camp Eden Village in NY.
Noam's reporting tremendous excitement joining Gilboa (it is below 30 degrees in NY...), and says: "I care deeply about Habonim and youth education. Habonim made me who I am today, instilling a strong work ethics, a better knowledge of who I am as a person and what I stand for... I am unbelievably excited to begin working as the Outreach Director for Gilboa!"
Thank you to the entire community for a wonderful year, welcome to all the new families who have already joined Gilboa this fall, and happy 2015 to all!
- Dalit Shlapobersky
HABONIM ISRAEL PROGRAMS
We are at the end of the first part of Workshop, our Habonim service year in Israel, which we spent on Kibbutz Ein Dor. We will be moving to our house in Rishon L'tzion this weekend to start Kaveret, the second part of the program.
The structure of workshop on Ein Dor included avodah (work), self-run activities, and shiyurim (classes) about Jewish history, Zionism, and Israeli society. After three months, we are becoming much more self sufficient, now cooking meals for ourselves and making decisions collectively. Living in a kvutza is a large component on workshop and can prove to be challenging in some situations, such as making decisions on how to spend our kupa (communal fund) or living in a house with 28 people. It is also very rewarding as we build relationships with each other and organize group activities for ourselves. This past week, we organized a thanksgiving dinner, which included a home cooked meal and decorating our moadon.
A new aspect of Boneh (the first part of workshop) that was instituted this year is projects. We were given three months to research and create something of our choice that we can bring back to the Movement and our machanot. Groups have chosen to focus on topics such as the emotional health of chanichim at machaneh, a cookbook for future workshops to use, sustainability and how it relates to Judaism, and a compilation of stories regarding gender and sexuality.
We are also provided with opportunities to leave kibbutz and explore Israeli society. In November, along with other international Habonim Dror gap year programs, we participated in a seminar revolving around Yitzhak Rabin and the peace process in Israel, and then attended the annual Rabin rally in Tel Aviv. We heard speeches from Israel's president as well as a mother of one of the three kidnapped boys from this past summer. The workshoppers felt part of a greater community and were excited to interact with members of Habonim Dror Olami (Habonim Dror Worldwide).
We have been having a great time on workshop and are looking forward to the next six months.
More coming soon...
- Shira Menter & Ronnie Hecht
HABONIM ISRAEL PROGRAMS
Gilboa Stewardship Fund
A NEW grant for our MBI and Workshop-bound chanichim.
Evelyne Steward, attorney and long-time member of Ameinu, discovered Habonim Workshop (gap-year program in Israel) about 50 years ago. That Workshop experience was life altering for her, and gave Evelyne a lifelong passion for Israel and the Labor Zionist movement. Her desire was to support Gilboa's Israel programs so that others could enjoy the same transformative experience.
Evelyne, who has been described as "a very honest and forthright individual who was always willing to help", and as "a super spunky and fun lady" passed away in January 2014. Her passion endures through her legacy gift to Camp Gilboa in support of Habonim Dror Israel programs. To honor Evelyne's commitment and memory, the Camp Gilboa Board has established the Gilboa Stewardship Israel Programs Fund.
Funds are available for participants in MBI (current 10th grade) and Workshop (current 12th grade). Allocations are based on a variety of factors, most significantly financial need, involvement in the year-round activity and commitment to continue contributing to Camp Gilboa and the Habonim community upon completion of the program. If you'd like to apply for a Gilboa Stewardship, please contact the office at email@example.com.
Here's a simple way to support Gilboa while you shop online.
Amazon provides its entire selection through its charitable portal AmazonSmile. You get to keep the same amazon account, prices and cart, and Amazon donates 0.5% of each purchase to Gilboa.
How to set it up? Click on theAmazonSmilelink to automatically connect your regular Amazon account to an AmazonSmile account. Bookmark it for easier access next time around.
OR... Next time you shop, go to smile.amazon.com. Choose Habonim Camp Kvutza (our official name) as your charitable organization. The information will be saved from then on.
Giving Tuesday a Big Success
Thank you so much to our generous annual fundraiser supporters. And special thanks to those who gave during Giving Tuesday and helped us reach our matching funds goal. The campaign was a big success and far-exceeded our expectations for that day.
If you'd still like to contribute before the year's end, your support will be greatly appreciated.
Congratulations to Zev for his many years of successful service in public office in Los Angeles.
Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky retired from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in December 2014 after serving as a public official in Los Angeles for 40 years.
Zev was born into a Habonim family, son to David and Mina Yaroslavsky, who were among the original founders of American Habonim. His father was a founder of the Hebrew teachers' union and his mother taught Hebrew and math at Los Angeles City College. Zev has always pointed out that it was "my parents' constant fight for social justice (which) shaped my entire outlook." His sister Shimona also attended camp and served as a madricha for many years. Zev attended Machaneh Bonim in 1964 and in the summer of 1967 came up to camp almost every weekend to see Yael (who later became his wife), who was rosh mitbach for the summer.
After a trip to the Soviet Union in 1968, Zev became an activist fighting to free Soviet Jewry, and served as the Director of the Southern California Council on Soviet Jewry, working with Si Frumkin. That was to be the beginning of a career serving the underdog, fighting for what he saw was just and right.
Zev's first campaign for political office was in 1975 when, at the age of 26, he ran for the Los Angeles City Council against two formidable candidates. His upset victory was the start of his service as a Los Angeles City Councilman from the 5th district. He served there from 1975 to 1994 when he won the elections to serve as one of five supervisors in the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. As a City Councilman, Zev served his constituents with determination. He led the fight to limit oil drilling along the Pacific Palisades coast, and worked to limit high rise development across the city.
As a County Supervisor, Zev has been involved in all aspects of county services. He convinced voters to raise taxes for the County's trauma care network, as well as to expand the bus and light rail system, thus creating the 14 mile Orange Line through the San Fernando Valley. He also supported the development of a master plan for both sides of the Santa Monica mountains, adding 20,000 acres of land to the parks system. Zev was also a strong supporter of arts and culture, involved in projects such as the refurbishing of the Hollywood Bowl and developing the Walt Disney Concert Hall.
Throughout Zev's career, his wife Yael (Barbara) has been active on numerous Jewish organizations' boards as well as on boards in the general non-profit community, and has been serving on the California Medical Board since 2003. This year she is serving as co-chair of the Development Committee for Camp Gilboa, as we reach towards our goal of owning the Gilboa site free and clear.