Putting Israel in the Center of Chi – The Mercaz
Israel is a central part of Camp Chi. Every summer Camp Chi welcomes over 70 Israelis to camp between our shlichim and campers from Israel. Every cabin spends time at the Israeli village, learning about modern Israeli history, geography and culture. As a camp, we begin our Shabbat celebration in the Israeli Village with shuk, where we enjoy Israeli food, music, dancing and games. Well, we have good news for everyone- we’re going to be amplifying all of that this summer and a whole lot more.
Camp Chi was recently awarded the Imagine That grant from JCC Chicago’s Women’s Board. The grant will help us improve the physical space and enhance the programming we offer in the Israeli Village. Because of the generosity and support of this steadfast group of volunteers the following updates will be available within the village this summer:
- We are adding a stage and sound system to allow us to work on Israeli dance and performance, not just at shuk, but all summer long
- We will be enhancing the Chi-brary with an Israel section, allowing campers the opportunity to explore more of the history and culture, while providing resources for staff who want to add more Israel into their programs
- Converting the existing fire circle into an Israeli Outdoor Cooking fire circle
- The addition of a shaded conversation and program space
In addition to all of that, we are working with the iCenter to develop engaging, thought provoking programs for campers of all ages with the specific focus to help our oldest campers and staff be prepared to speak about and engage with Israel on college campuses.
With this grant and the enhancements we are making to this program which is at the heart of camp, we are renaming the space the Mercaz. Mercaz translates to center, and as Israel is a central component of our camp not only with the physical location of the Israeli Village, but also in terms of the programming we offer. We could not find a more fitting name for this project.
We are grateful to the JCC Chicago Women’s Board for making this possible and we can’t wait to welcome you to the reimaginged Mercaz this summer.
The JCC Chicago Women’s Board is a dedicated volunteer organization with an ongoing legacy of financial commitment, providing annual scholarship assistance to eligible campers at ‘Z’ Frank Apachi J Camp, Elaine Frank Apachi J Camp, Apachi Village J Camp, Camp Chi and all JCC Chicago Apachi J Camps in the city. Annual Women’s Board activities and initiatives strengthen JCC camps and enhance programs and facilities. The JCC Chicago Women’s Board also provides direct services to the needs of the greater Chicago Jewish community.