From Israel to Ottawa, With Love

by Fay Kranz Greene - OTTAWA, CANADA

August 1, 2004

Americans have always sent care packages to Israel, but in a reverse twist, Camp Gan Israel in Ottawa, Ontario recently received a wonderful “care” package from Israel. Eight Israeli young women from Jerusalem and other cities in Israel arrived as volunteer counselors for the girls division of the Chabad-sponsored summer day camp.

Camp director Mrs. Devorah Caytak says that this is one gift that is making a daily difference in the lives of the more than 80 campers enrolled in the program. “The halls of our camp are filled with the sounds of Hebrew conversation, Hebrew songs and Hebrew cheers,” she says. “These counselors bring a spirited enthusiasm and a lot of love with them. They have enhanced our camper’s love for Israel by talking to them about their lives and focusing on the joy of living in Israel rather than on the terror and sadness the children hear about.”

Caytak says that the counselors’ caring and concern for their charges extends to their families as well. After a full day of working in camp, they also find the time in the evenings to visit with their campers at home to meet their families and to get to know them on a different level. “Our parents are so pleased,” says Caytak. “They tell me their children are learning more about Judaism this summer than they learned all year in Hebrew school.”

Devorah Caytak and her husband Dr. Yosef Caytak, an emergency room physician, are the directors of the Chabad Jewish Youth Library, an umbrella organization that includes Camp Gan Israel for girls, Jewish preschool of the arts, the Jarvis Freedman Torah Tape Library and Jewish Women’s institute, all in Ottawa.

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