Newly Certified by Israeli Ministry of Education, Counterpoint Israel Program Returns for 2017
Next week, Yeshiva University will send 30 exceptional students to Israel to serve as counselors on the 12th annual Counterpoint Israel Program, an immersive service-learning initiative that aims to empower the next generation of Israeli youth via a Jewish values-driven summer camp experience. This summer’s program marks the first time in Counterpoint’s history that its grade school participants will receive educational credit, as the Israeli Ministry of Education recently approved the framework as an official continuing education program.
From July 4-24, Counterpoint Israel will return to the cities of Arad, Dimona and Kiryat Malachi to serve 200 Israeli campers from varied socio-economic backgrounds in three student-run camps. 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.
“After more than a decade of running successful summer camps, the Ministry of Education has officially recognized our program as a direct continuation of the school year in all three cities. This is a huge milestone in the evolution of Counterpoint and it highlights the program’s impact on the lives of the hundreds of students participating in our camps, as well as the overall need for more programs that challenge and enhance the skills of the young residents of Israeli development towns,” said Gabi Sackett, director of the Counterpoint Israel Program.
Each camp will be staffed by 10 of the exceptional YU undergraduate students who will work together as educational teams to mentor the Israeli campers and teach them about Jewish history, heritage and culture through special trips, activities, team-building exercises and English language reading and writing skills. The theme of this summer’s English curriculum, “Me and My Community,” aims to illustrate how advanced English skills can help the campers excel academically and set them down the road to professional success, thereby empowering them to improve their own lives and positively impact their communities.
“Counterpoint has transformed the lives of thousands of high school students and inspired its counselors – consistently YU’s best and brightest – to become agents of change in the world around them. The ways in which this initiative has shaped Jewish communal leadership and communities like Arad, Dimona and Kiryat Malachi over the years is a testament to the life-changing power of Counterpoint,” said Rabbi Kenneth Brander, YU’s vice president for university and community life and former head advisor of Counterpoint Canada.
In addition to educational excursions and leadership workshops in locations around the country, each group of campers will take part in historical tours in the Old City’s Jewish Quarter, the City of David and the Western Wall promenade in honor of Jerusalem’s 50th anniversary.
Counterpoint Israel 2017 is run with support from The Jewish Agency, Partnership2gether, Neal’s Fund, in memory of Neal Dublinsky, Sharon and Avram Blumenthal, The Gamson Family, in memory of Dr. Bernard W. Gamson and the Municipalities of Arad, Dimona, and Kiryat Malachi.