Shalom Life | April 24, 2014

Yeshiva University’s 'Counterpoint Israel' Program Changes Lives Beyond the Classroom

The month-long program connects young Diaspora Jews with Israeli campers

By: Ashley Peters

Published: July 22nd, 2013 in News » World

Yeshiva University’s 'Counterpoint Israel' Program Changes Lives Beyond the Classroom


(Counterpoint Israel Campers)

While some youth are biding their summer stint at the cottage or toiling through a dull summer job, New York City’s Yeshiva University has deployed its student volunteers to five student-run camps in Israel’s Dimona, Arad, Beer Sheva, Kiryat Gat and Kiryat Malachi to build a relationship with the next generation of Israelis in a unique summer camp experience.

From July 2-23, the Jewish values-driven camp will leave both its campers and counsellors with an experience of lasting consequence.

The month-long educational program goes beyond pitching tents and crooning campfire melodies. Its mandate is threefold: to inspire the younger Jewish generation, to teach English and other invaluable life lessons, and to culturally connect with 300 Israeli-campers from various social and economic groundings.

But the 60 handpicked undergraduate students from North America (two hailing from Toronto), the United Kingdom, and Panama who traverse the distance to lend a humanitarian hand and instruct English tutorials, find the experience indelibly transformative. The campers unwittingly help the counsellors nurture their Jewish identity and instigate a sense of civic responsibility.

“As counselors, we came to Israel with a goal, to teach Israeli campers English and provide them with a summer camp experience. Yet, we have learnt just as much from our campers, about leadership, dealing with day to day challenges, and the resilience of the human spirit in the face of hardships” remarks Naomi Gofine, a counsellor at Counterpoint’s campsite in Be'er Sheva.


(Naomi Gofine with a Be'er Sheva camper)

To prove its efficacy, a recent study conducted by the Center for the Jewish Future (CJF) saluted Counterpoint and its classes administered in English and workshops in arts, fashion, music, dance and sports as a foolproof blueprint for building Jewish identity and communities.

“Following last summer's successful program, we employed surveys, interviews and focus groups with Counterpoint campers and counselors, as well as municipal and regional professionals, in order to collect data that would conclusively prove that which we always thought to be the true, namely that Counterpoint changes lives,” commented Kiva Rabinsky, co-Director of Counterpoint Israel.

Chalked up as a success overseas, Counterpoint’s legacy is also felt back home in North America well after the camp comes to a close, raising up Jewish leaders of a certain caliber.

“So many leaders of Jewish communities throughout North America and in Israel are products of Counterpoint. As this innovative program marches on, it is exciting to think that the counselors and campers of today will be among the Jewish leaders of tomorrow,” says Rabbi Brander, the David Mitzner Dean of Yeshiva University's Center for the Jewish Future.

Chisel Used to Build Western Wall Discovered Chisel Used to Build Western Wall Discovered TrendingMissouri Mayor Resigns After Siding with Kansas Shooter Missouri Mayor Resigns After Siding with Kansas Shooter TrendingJewish Men Leave Synagogue to Save Family from Burning Car Jewish Men Leave Synagogue to Save Family from Burning Car Trending
 

Jewish Hall of Fame: Émile Durkheim

April 23, 2014 | By Zak Edwards
Jewish Hall of Fame: Émile Durkheim

The French sociologist, social psychologist and philosopher is considered to be one of the founding fathers of social science

Read More

Anton Yelchin and Zooey Deschanel Slated for ‘The Driftless Area’

April 23, 2014 | By Sarah Bauder
Anton Yelchin and Zooey Deschanel Slated for ‘The Driftless Area’

The film will also star John Hawkes, Ciaran Hinds, and Alia Shawkat.

Read More

Sarah Silverman Apologizes in Advance For Swastika Doodle

April 23, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Sarah Silverman Apologizes in Advance For Swastika Doodle

The controversial comedian posted a doodle she drew of a swastika to her Twitter feed.

Read More

Andy Samberg to Return to ‘SNL’ as Host

April 23, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Andy Samberg to Return to ‘SNL’ as Host

The 'Saturday Night Live' alum will be hosting on May 17th.

Read More

Drake Lint Rolls His Pants During Raptors Playoff Game [VIDEO]

April 23, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Drake Lint Rolls His Pants During Raptors Playoff Game [VIDEO]

The Raptors global brand ambassador wanted to ensure he looked his best while his team beat the Brooklyn Nets

Read More

Drew Barrymore and Will Kopelman Welcome Baby Frankie

April 23, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Drew Barrymore and Will Kopelman Welcome Baby Frankie

The actress announced the birth of another happy baby girl on Tuesday.

Read More

Mel Brooks to Star in Autobiographical One-Man Show

April 23, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Mel Brooks to Star in Autobiographical One-Man Show

The 87-year old actor/director is planning a solo show in Los Angeles for one-night only.

Read More

Travel Back in Time with Google Street View

April 23, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
Travel Back in Time with Google Street View

Google's latest feature allows you to scroll through past Street view photos, whether in New York, Toronto, or Singapore

Read More

More Headlines