Throughout most of the month of June, the Ohr Avner Chabad Day School and Kindergarten hosted the Gan Israel Chabad day camp, attended by 30 children. The campers enjoyed a variety of activities including sports, arts and crafts, and exercising. They were served breakfast, lunch and snacks each day, as well.
The youngsters were also thrilled to visit the local puppet and drama theaters, the zoo, bowling lanes, the cinema and other attractions. One of the most enjoyable trips was a day trip to the city of Krasnokamsk, where they visited a workshop that specializes in making wooden toys and enjoyed a cruise on the Kama River. There was not a dull moment at the camp, even on rainy days!
Educational activities are integrated into the camp program in a fun way, covering lessons on Torah and mitzvot (commandments), holidays, Jewish history and customs. The discussions, creative assignments, games and contests helped the children, who attend different schools, to take pride in their Jewish heritage.
There is something for everyone at Perm’s Camp Gan Israel. Sisters Anastasia and Arseny Shalamov discovered that you can successfully combine old fashioned fun and Jewish activities and knowledge with much enjoyment. Their friend, Vanya Mihalets was eager to find out more about her Jewish heritage. As for 12-year-old Gleb Savchuk and Yefim Ushko, they recall the discussions on moral and ethical issues with Chabad Lubavich emissary Rabbi Mendel Neimark, who has been serving the Jewish community of Perm for six months now. These youngsters indicate that, after having these experiences, it’s as if they somehow have grown up and have become more responsible.
After learning about the mitzvah of tzedaka (charity), Matvei began to bring a coin each day to put in the charity box. He, like others, may have felt good not only upon receiving something, but also giving to others. After learning about Shabbat, Zhenya Chernykh, who attended the camp for the first time, decided to light Shabbat candles every Friday. These are but a few examples of how this camp has affected the youngsters, one by one.
When asked if there was anything that they were unhappy about regarding the camp, the children’s unanimous answers were that they wanted it to last longer! That is the best testament to the success of the organizers and the great time had by the youngsters at Gan Israel Perm. The Jewish community of Perm – a member of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia – would like to thank all those people who contributed to making this year’s camp season the best that it can be, so that Jewish children could appreciate a healthy and fun summer!