Jewish Life

Campers sitting together at Shabbat.

Q: Why do kids go to Jewish summer camp?

A: Is that a joke? A trick question? A one-liner?

Kids go to Jewish summer camp to live life outside of the ordinary. They go to get a new perspective. They go to embrace values and develop critical life skills. They go to have a meaningful Jewish experience.

Maccabi Sports Camp was founded on the belief that an inclusive and warm Jewish camp experience is for every kid who loves sports. Jewish practice and values are woven throughout the Maccabi camp experience, from the “Modeh Ani” wake-up song at the Morning Huddle and sharing our daily intention (kavanah) to learning about and applying the Jewish concept of “Shmirat haguf,” guarding the body, by caring for our mind, body and soul.

When kids learn about and apply universal Jewish values to their daily lives at camp, remarkable things happen. They start to practice gratitude (part of our core value of Shabbat Shalom). They welcome and appreciate friends (K’lal Yisrael). And they value ethical behavior and how their words and actions impact others (Tikkun Middot).

While the practice of Jewish values are part of the daily experience at Maccabi, our camp would not be complete without Shabbat at the end every week.

On Friday, afternoon we have a slightly different schedule to prepare our community for Shabbat. Our campers take time to prepare camp for services and our special dinner, learn new songs and dances, and enjoy an extended block to make sure they are clean and look their best. Shabbat includes a special meal on Friday evening, a Saturday picnic lunch, and culminates with a Havdalah ceremony before we return to the normalcy of the week ahead.

We sing songs, tell stories, and enjoy our time together as a community after a busy week separated by our sports and age groups.

Shabbat continues on Saturday as the intensity of Core Sports is replaced with free time and recreational activities so that we can rest and rejuvenate after a long week. We close Shabbat with a short and meaningful Havdallah service, recognizing the end of Shabbat and the start of the new week.

When your child attends Maccabi Sports Camp, they are getting way more than what either a Jewish summer camp or a traditional sports clinic would provide alone. They are getting transformative values, life skills and community that they can’t find anywhere else.

Group photo of campers at Shabbat.
Counselor singing and playing guitar at Shabbat.

What does Jewish look like at camp?

Maccabi Sports Camp is a pluralistic, community-oriented Jewish space. From the first moments of our daily Morning Huddle to the last words of our camp song each night, Judaism is infused into all that we do. We know that how one enjoys Judaism is a personal choice with observances that vary from family to family and our goal is for everyone to feel comfortable and included while here,

For our camp community, being Jewish is built on values and rituals. We observe Shabbat each week by coming together for an egalitarian and modern service on Friday evening and Saturday morning, sing Hebrew songs, dance Israeli dances, and observe the laws of Kashrut in our dining hall through separate meat or dairy meals, and lack of pork and/or shellfish. However, the kitchen is not a kosher facility and our meat products are not certified kosher, so your family should make the decision that best aligns with your observance level.

We also understand that many in our community come from interfaith, unaffiliated, or non-observant homes and we welcome the diverse beauty that these campers add to our camp family. Camp’s value of “K’lal Yisrael” teaches that there are more similarities amongst Jews than differences and it is those similarities that connect us to our past, and our future, in every generation.

No matter how your family practices their Judaism, you can be sure that Maccabi Sports Camp will welcome your camper with open arms.

Counselor speaking at Shabbat.


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