After the success of last year’s pilot program, which launched with 33 campers, Ckids Gan Israel is back for its second season.
Earlier this year, Levi and Chaya Plotkin moved to Florida to fill this important need in a permanent way, to serve as directors of CKids Gan Israel. This year’s enrollment opened with 60 spots—and most of them have been filled. In true Chabad fashion, the goal is to “keep growing exponentially,” says Mrs. Chaya Plotkin, co-director.
The power couple has, with the help of Ckids International and Merkos 302, successfully created a Gan Yisroel sleepaway camp experience for boys, something that’s never been done before in the Florida area. “The goal is to give boys a taste of real, authentic Yiddishkeit,” says Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, vice chairman of Merkos. “It’s a once in a lifetime experience that will literally change lives.”
It’s been tried and the success is clear—last summer boys came home energized with a chayus for Torah and mitzvos. “The three kids from our community who joined last summer couldn’t stop talking about what an amazing time they had and how great the counselors were,” says Rabbi Asher Farkash, shliach from Daytona Beach. “It was life-changing,” adds Rabbi Pinny Andrusier from Cooper City.
The Rebbe spoke strongly about the impact a summer can have on a child’s neshama. Unlike Hebrew school or a holiday program, which is just a few hours and then it’s over, “this is 24/7 nonstop immersive Yiddishkeit,” says Rabbi Zalman Loewenthal, Ckids director.
The Plotkins have worked hard to design a summer experience where Yiddishkeit infuses everything that happens throughout the day. “In a camp, a lot of the success comes down to the right staff,” says Rabbi Yosef Biston, head shliach to North Broward and Palm Beach County, where the camp is based. “The relationship with a good counselor can carry these kids through to adulthood.”
Along with an immersive Jewish experience, Ckids Gan Israel has a packed schedule planned with a wide range of activities, from ziplining and daily clubs to challah baking and late night ice cream parties.
“The goal is to recreate the energy and love of a local Chabad house,” says Rabbi Mendy Kotlarsky, Executive Director of Merkos 302.
Shluchim are not only grateful that there is a place to send their kids, but also that Levi and Chaya Plotkin take full responsibility over every child signed up.
“We had a few families that weren’t comfortable sending their children,” says Rabbi Raichik of Boynton Beach. “I had Levi call them and he had them convinced!”
“We are grateful for all the efforts in recruiting our boys,” adds Mrs. Keivman of Highland Park.
The summer experience is almost sold out at this year’s CKids Gan Israel. With less than 1 week left, Rabbi Levi Plotkin, director, urges shluchim to call him right away with potential campers. “One phone call could mean a boy’s life is forever changed.”
If you know a boy in grades 4 – 8 that could benefit from a Jewish summer camp experience, please call Rabbi Levi Plotkin at 3474460479.
Thank you to the following shluchim that are sending kids to CKids Gan Israel this summer:
Rabbi & Mrs Steinmetz
Rabbi & Mrs Mangel
Rabbi & Mrs Adler
Rabbi & Mrs Rosenfeld
Rabbi & Mrs. Altein
Rabbi & Mrs Kaller
Rabbi & Mrs Zibel
Rabbi & Mrs Konikov
Rabbi & Mrs Kazen
Rabbi & Mrs Yarmush
Rabbi & Mrs Andrusier
Rabbi & Mrs Keivman
Rabbi & Mrs Amar
Rabbi & Mrs Elgrishi
Rabbi & Mrs Minkowitz
Rabbi & Mrs Goldstein
Rabbi & Mrs Dubrawski
Rabbi & Mrs Hertzel
Rabbi & Mrs Vigler
Rabbi & Mrs Biston
Rabbi & Mrs Biston
Rabbi & Mrs Raichik
For more details visit ckidsganisrael.com