Shluchim Boys Attend Europe Camp

The first Gan Israel for children of European Shluchim recently ended a successful program run by Rabbi Alexander and Leah Namdar of Chabad of Sweden. Full Story, Video

This summer, a historic first: Camp Gan Yisroel for European Tzeirei Hashluchim boys opened in Sweden.

“Don’t you get homesick?” Asked a visitor to camp of 9 year old Levi Hurwitz from Budapest.

“No,” he said cheerfully, ” ’cause here in camp, no one teases anyone. Also, I got much more close to the Rebbe,” he says earnestly. His cute Hungarian accent makes everyone smile to hear from a child this young. After all- most frum people who speak Hungarian are at least seventy! A smile lights up his eyes, behind his round glasses. ” I got much more chayus from Gan Yisroel!”

“Here we are not different, or feel like we are foreign. Almost every kid in camp speaks another language, besides for English or Hebrew, and we’re all shluchim and understand each other, ” said Yosef Mendel Heintz, (no relation to the ketchup) from Utrecht, Holland. He is a smiling chevreman, who loved the “amazing camp.”

“In this camp no one feels left out,” says Levi Vorst, of Rotterdam, Holland.

“I liked the trips, and I liked making friends, the food, and everything in this camp!” said Moshe Cohen from Manchester.

This is the first time the camp for children of European Shluchim has hosted boys. The girls camp was begun in 5769 by Rabbi Alexander and Leah Namdar of Chabad of Sweden, with the support of Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky of Merkos Leinyonei Chinuch, and after three incredible camp seasons, parents were asking: “what about the boys?”

The yaldei hashluchim in Europe- many living in remote locations- have the challenge of growing up, surrounded by languages and cultures that are usually foreign to their parents. The joy of coming together with real, live kids – fellow Yidden, Lubavitchers, shluchim just like them, is enormous.

“I have friends in Athens, but they are not my age!” says Arye Hendel, a spunky 9 year old who speaks and reads Greek fluently. “Here in camp, I made so many friends!”

“Gan Yisroel helped me in davening and Ahavas Yisroel. I liked the trips and all the activities- and most of all the davening,” said Chaim Starik from Vienna.

Campers in the boy’s division attended from Austria, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Holland,Hungary, Greece, Belgium, Slovakia, Lithuania, Sweden and various cities from England.

“The staff were an incredible, ‘ibergegebene’ group of bochurim. They really cared about the children and focused on the goal- that they should return to their place of shlichus recharged, with a stronger hiskashrus to the Rebbe,” says Rabbi Namdar, camp director and head Shliach to Sweden. ” They gain a strengthened awareness of why they live where they do, and why they do what they do… and a new pride and courage to beezras Hashem, and with the kochos of the Rebbe, to help them do it.”

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