Student-Run Summer Program Will Empower 200 Israeli Youth in Arad, Dimona and Kiryat Malachi
For the eleventh straight year, Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future will run the Counterpoint Israel Program, an immersive service-learning initiative that aims to empower the next generation of Israeli youth via an exciting, Jewish values-driven summer camp experience, while simultaneously instilling a sense of civic responsibility within its YU student volunteers.
With the program returning to the cities of Arad, Dimona, and Kiryat Malachi, Counterpoint Israel will serve 200 Israeli campers from varied socio-economic backgrounds in three student-run camps from July 5 – 19. As in past years, the program will include classes given in English and workshops in arts, fashion, music, dance and sports, affording the Israeli campers an unforgettable summer experience and crucial opportunities for identity building and personal enrichment.
“As Yeshiva University strives to create and sustain outreach efforts in communities around the world, Counterpoint has proven to be one of our most potent and powerful tools, demonstrating year after year that Jewish education is as much about the approach and delivery as it is the content of the message,” said Rabbi Kenneth Brander, vice president for university and community life and a past head advisor of Counterpoint Canada. “Counterpoint continues to grow and succeed due to the truly unique atmosphere it creates. It fosters an environment in which young, underprivileged Israeli students feel loved, accomplished, and comfortable enough to open up to new people and experiences, and gives our counselors a chance for self-discovery and the opportunity to hone their skills while taking on the roles of Jewish change agents.”
Staffed by 24 exceptional Yeshiva University undergraduate students, Counterpoint Israel will also educate the Israeli campers about Jewish history, heritage and culture through special trips, activities and teambuilding exercises.
“For most of our campers, Counterpoint Israel represents the most meaningful Jewish educational experience of their year,” explained Rabbi Brander. “Our unique programming model allows us to expand our reach beyond the campers affecting the entire family and making a difference in these development towns.”
Along these lines, a study conducted by Research Success Technologies indicates that Counterpoint is not only an unforgettable summer experience but a transformative experience for campers, with the camps providing a learning environment that is different, and in certain ways even more effective, than the school environment.
“Speaking English and expanding vocabulary is first and foremost a fun and engaging experience. But, as seen in Counterpoint camps, the process also enables campers to find new levels of confidence,” explained Dr. Ezra Kopelowitz, CEO of Research Success Technologies. “Additionally, the campers report that dialoguing with their American counselors, who are religious Jews, results in the exploration of their personal and Jewish identity–growth of a different kind.”
Counterpoint Israel 2016 is run with support from Jennifer and Saul Burian, Doreen and Beryl Eckstein and Neal’s Fund, in memory of Neal Dublinsky z”l.
The Kiryat Malachi Program is dedicated in the memory of Dr. Bernard W. Gamson; the Dimona program is run with additional support from Sharon and Avram Blumenthal and from the Dimona Municipality; and the Arad program is run with additional support from the Jewish Federations of Central New Jersey and Delaware and the Arad Municipality.