Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, known by its natural beauty and landscapes, also boasts a Gan Israel Day Camp housed in the local Beit Lubavitch, and this year’s Winter Day Camp (being that Brazil is now the winter season) was hailed as the best Gan Israel ever by all — kids, counselors, parents and even workers at Beit Lubavitch.
Gan Israel’s goal has been to provide Jewish kids of all backgrounds, in Rio de Janeiro, with the best and healthiest Torah oriented Day Camp in town, permeated with a lot of fun and joy.
This year, however, Gan Israel Day Camp success was beyond all expectations.
The feedback from kids and parents was fantastic. Children were heard saying on the last day, “It was the best Day Camp experience I ever had!” “The counselors were the best! The games and trips were the best! Even the cook and workers — and the meals — were the best!” One of the happy parents proudly noted: “My son asked us to buy him a kipah and tzitzis!”
The children, aged 3-9, came from Jewish and non-Jewish schools, religious and non-religious homes and included also the local shluchim’s children. Some of the older kids even “helped’ as mini-counselors, during the davening, which they really enjoyed. They all had a lot of fun!
All the activities, games and trips were prepared and organized by the counselors Zaquia Laufer, Rachel Lea Mizrahi, Shternie Lenczinsky, Sheina Lenczinsky and the coordinator and head counselor, Mushkie Beuthner.
Special thanks to the shliach Rabbi Moshe Lenczinsky who dedicates himself every year to get the Day Camp going; to the sponsors who see and appreciate its positive impact in the community and to Deborah Bergman who helped with registration.
“What I see in these kids is what the Rebbe said, in that our generation, it is possible to inspire the children to feel a need, a real connection, for spirituality, to the point that spirituality to them – is as enjoyable as candies and sweets,” said the camp’s program director, Mushkie Beuthner.
“Nothing could be more gratifying to us then to see the shine in the eyes of the children while they were davening and saying the brochos or the psukim; while they were baking Challah, or when they got their (sometimes very first) own yarmulke as a prize!”