An exciting overnight camp near the city of Rostov, provided a much needed break for local Russian children and Refugees from Ukraine.
The political upheaval of the last few months has caused great stress and uncertainty in the Jewish populations, forcing some Ukrainian Jews to temporarily seek refuge in Rostov and surrounding towns.
Camp was held on a beautiful campsite owned by Or Avner on the banks of the Don River. Children ages 7-15 enjoyed a fun filled camp session led by 6 outstanding American counselors; Chayala Mentz, Mushkie Peer and Sarah Elharrar from California; and Leah Nash, Sara Pewzner and Leah Polter from New York.
Campers were treated to a range of fun activities that they had never before experienced, like; lazer tag, camping on the beach, wild night activities, a fire show, and lots of imported crafts and food art. A big highlight was the kosher canteen with a never ending supply of American kosher candy for purchase using camp money that they earned for Jewish learning and good behavior.
The real success of camp was the children’s exposure to yiddishkeit from morning to night. Their counselor served as amazing role models teaching them Torah and mitzvos with lots of love instilling in them Jewish pride.
With the encouragement of their counselors, many campers took upon themselves to wash negel vasser in morning and say shma at night. A few kids convinced their parents to allow them to attend the Jewish day school. On shabbos many girls had the special opportunity to chose their very own Jewish name.
“CGI Rostov had such a powerful impact on the community that even 2 weeks after camp ended the children and adults are still talking about it and feeling uplifted by the tremendous spiritual high of CGI.” Said rabbi Chaim Danzinger who together with his wife Kaila Danzinger co-directed camp.