Thank G-d for summer camp

I know how much you Jewschool readers loved it the last time I posted about Camp Tawonga so I thought I’d give you another taste of what we Semites are up to in Yosemite. (Plus I look forward to some good fun character assasination and assumptions about my politics.)
Last weekend was our 3rd annual Oseh Shalom Sanea al-Salam Peacemakers Weekend, a three-day program dedicated to dialogue. This year’s program was particularly special, since we received some very generous funding to bring Israelis and Palestinians directly from the Middle East to camp. 90 participants from places as far flung as Ramallah, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jenin and Palo Alto lived, ate, played, sang, talked, smoked, joked, argued, clashed, agreed, disagreed and burped babies together while sharing their stories about Israel and Palestine. By all accounts it was a terrific success.

“It’s about planting a seed,” says Melek Nasr-Totahof of the Peacemakers Planning Committee. “It’s an awakening. And I think peace doesn’t happen all at once. It’s a slow transformation, person by person.”
“I saw an Israeli and a Palestinian who said, prior to this moment, their only interaction they had ever had with the other was at a checkpoint,” says Camp Executive Director Ken Kramarz.
Lior Levi is challenging himself to share more of the Jewish perspective.
“This is actually the first time that I’ve talked about my service in the army, which was very intense,” says Levi, who encountered a man who says he was a military rival in those days. “I was just thinking how symbolic it is we could sit here and talk, laugh, and smoke a cigarette. Seven years ago, we were across the line from each other holding weapons. It’s very bizarre and surreal and magical at the same time.”

Our local CBS affiliate joined us for the weekend – you can check out the story here. (It’s the second video clip from the left.)

5 thoughts on “Thank G-d for summer camp

  1. i go to camp tawonga and when i saw this picture, i just wanted to thank you for posting a piece of my heart on the net. Thank You!

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