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Bringing Israel to North America’s Jewish Summer Camps

This summer, the three Federation-supported Miami Jewish community centers — Alper, Miami Beach and Michael-Ann Russell — are bringing Israel to Miami with Israeli shlichim (emissaries). Working with our overseas partner, The Jewish Agency for Israel, Miami’s JCCs are some of the hundreds of camps participating in the North American Summer Camp Shlichim Initiative. More than 1,300 Israelis have been paired with camps to represent Israel as a living, thriving Jewish state. They are integrated into all aspects of programming in their assigned Jewish camp settings and bring to life Jewish culture and values such as mitzvot (moral duties), Torah, ceremonies and tikkun olam (repairing the world).

Selected from more than 10,000 applicants, and representing the best of Israel, Rona Hakim and Shelly Wolf are working at Alper JCC; Edrei Abramov has made the Miami Beach JCC his summer home and Aviv Geuli and Mor Shnaider have been placed at Michael-Ann Russell JCC. Each of the shlichim bring something unique to their role.

Hakim served in the IDF as a Military Social Worker, working her way up to commander. She taught basic training in addition to instructing nearly 50 young women on how to succeed in her field of military social work. She pursued the role of shlicha so she could share her love of the Israeli culture with the JCCs in America, while learning all about Jewish life in the States. This summer marks Wolf’s second year as a shlicha at Alper, which is quite rare. After an incredible summer last year, she was determined to return. Referring to her team at Alper as her family, she couldn’t wait to see them again. Hakim and Wolf work together preparing Israeli culture activities and lessons and teaching dance at the Performing Arts Camp.

Abramov is the science specialist at the Miami Beach JCC. During his army service, he was a combat soldier protecting the border, mainly serving in Egypt. Abramov has been interested in science since he was a young boy, when he participated in a youth movement that organized science festivals. He’s enjoying sharing his knowledge and skills with the campers.

Before becoming a shlicha, Geuli was a Tzofim (Israeli Scouts) counselor for six years. She speaks Hebrew, English and Spanish and loves teaching art. Shnaider was a madricha (counselor) in the Young Maccabee Movement for two years, and also taught Kindergarten in Moshav Yashresh.

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