Chabad of Lithuania Closes A Circle

by B. Olidort - SKARA, SWEDEN

August 4, 2005

"Cast your bread upon the waters . . .” It’s in this spirit of largesse that Chabad Shluchim do their work. They teach, they care they give without any promises of payback. No one offers guaranteed results, and the Shluchim never ask. And though there is an implicit faith in the end of King Solomon's maxim, Shluchim are generally too busy with the demands on their time and resources to wait out “the many days,” after which, says the wisest of all men, they’ll see results.

So it’s a moment of great reward when Chabad Shluchim get to see the circle close.

Rabbi and Mrs. Sholom B. Krinsky of Lithuania had such a moment this summer when the staff members of their Gan Israel camp program turned out to be their own local girls. “Our counselors were Lithuanian Jewish girls who began their own journey back to Judaism years ago, through our summer camps and our school,” says Rabbi Krinsky. Eventually, he explains, their exposure to authentic Jewish life made them leave Lithuania to go study at Chabad higher schools abroad. “And now, they’ve came back to run our camp.”

In past years, Rabbi Krinsky brought counselors from Israel and the U.S. to create a Gan Israel-true camp atmosphere . With characteristic verve, the Israeli and American counselors managed to get around the language barrier. But this year, that was one less hurdle to tackle, and Rabbi Krinsky took on a new challenge: with the help of his colleagues, Chabad Shluchim in Gothenburg, Camp Gan Israel of Lithuania would set up shop in Sweden for the summer 2005 season.

“The idea to have the camp in Sweden was a real draw,” says Rabbi Krinsky. Indeed, sixty Lithuanian girls participated in the camp program and 80 boys are registered for the boys division which follows. Traveling 15 hours by ship, the campers arrive in Skara, one of the oldest cities in Sweden, about two hours north of Gothenburg, where they enjoy a two-week program packed with activities, outdoor sports, trips and Jewish living in a new setting.

“Having our own, home-grown counselors has made it an extraordinary experience for the campers," says Rabbi Krinsky. And well, for him too, he admits.

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