(JTA) — A new Israel education initiative for camps is launching with grants of $3.6 million.
The Larry and Lillian Goodman Foundations has awarded a four-year, $2.3 million matching grant to the iCenter and the Foundation for Jewish Camp to establish the Goodman Camping Initiative for Modern Jewish History. The grant will be matched by the Marcus Foundation and the Avi Chai Foundation, who are jointly contributing a $1.3 million grant to the program.
The objective of the initiative is to enhance and expand the teaching of modern Israeli history and culture at nonprofit independent Jewish overnight camps.
A recent study by the Foundation for Jewish Camp found that Jewish camp alumni are 55 percent more likely to feel emotionally attached to Israel.
“As young Jews are our future leaders, Jewish camps provide an ideal environment for them to learn about Israeli history and culture so that they will be knowledgeable when standing up against anti-Israel sentiment on college campuses,” said Larry Goodman, chairman of the Goodman Foundations. “We believe the Goodman Camping Initiative will be an influential program in building deep ties with the state of Israel for thousands of campers and staff.”
Beginning in summer 2012, participating camps will feature an in-house modern Israel educator and five trained senior staff. The first cohort, which has already been selected, will be made up of 12 camps and the program is set to expand to 36 camps over the four-year period.