Reflecting on Our Israel Trip: Medinah and Machaneh (State and Camp)

Shavua Tov from Eretz Yisrael!  Shabbat has concluded and, after a bit of rest, we can reflect on our six days in Israel that have left us with centuries of thoughts to tussle with!  On Friday we concluded our program at the newly redesigned Israel Museum in the hills of western Jerusalem. The museum, which incorporates art, history and interactive classes and sessions, is a marvel unto itself. It captures the process and product of thousands of years of Jews wrestling with the basic question, “Who, as Jews, are we?”

At Tel Yehudah, we continue to hug and wrestle with our identity, its continuities and adaptations, and grapple with how we translate this into a meaningful, challenging experience for our campers. We can see the reflection of the turmoil and promise of Israelin camp as we strive to create the micro-version of what we want to see in Israel, a Pluralist Jewish society, anchored in our connection to Eretz Israel and Klal Yisrael.

We have spent this week immersed in the creativity, dynamism and fraternity ofIsrael, without turning a blind eye to its imperfections and growing pains. How do we emulate what we admire inIsraelwithout blind imitation? How do we embrace the work that remains ahead for Zionism without overwhelming our campers? How do we leverage the seemingly infinite nuances of our heritage into inspiring our campers to live Jewishly? These are delicate tasks; ones that we will never get totally right, but will always push us to do better.


Ultimately, we aim to inspire our campers to join in the project of Zionism, adding their own colors into the portrait ofIsraeland improving the Jewish People and the world through doing so. We would like to thank Makom, Chavayat Yisraelit, and everyone we met with during our time together inIsrael, including our distinguished and amazing alumni, as well as Young Judaea Israel professionals.

We would also like to give a special todah rabah to Scott Copeland, our tour guide and Jewish sight educator for the week. Scott, harnessed our experiences and questions into a perspective altering week, and provided us with the best possible dugma ishit (role model) for us to guide our tsevet (staff members) and chanichim (campers) through what we know will be a life changing summer.

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