DEAL FAMILIES hosted children and siblings of fallen Israel Defense Forces soldiers as part of a b’nei mitzva program sponsored by Friends of the IDF.
The 34 Israeli youngsters were given a summer camp experience in the United States through the FIDF’s Legacy Program. The July 25-Aug. 4 trip was part of an effort to support these children and allow them to connect with peers who have had similar experiences. The youngsters were in two groups, one at Berkshire Hills Emanuel Camp in Copake, NY, the other at Camp Ramah in the Berkshires in Wingdale, NY.
A highlight of the Shabbat and weekend stay in New Jersey was the welcome dinner — filled with food and karaoke — hosted by Ronit Hagai-Laniado at the Crawford home in Long Branch. Also in attendance were active FIDF supporters Barbara Beyda, Margo Savdi, and members of the Legacy host families.
Snir, a counselor on the trip, who also lost a family member in action, said, “The most special part was working with the kids and spending time with the families in America. The children are from bereaved families, like us, so it was powerful for them to be together with others who have been through a similar difficult situation.”
At the summer camps, the youngsters enjoyed swimming, arts and crafts, and sports. From Deal, they spent a day exploring New York City.
“The experience made them open up and share with each other how they cope with the loss in their families,” said Ravid, another counselor on the trip and also a former beneficiary of the Legacy program. “It also allowed them to just have fun and made connections as kids.”