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Israeli teens spread cheer even as they worry about their homeland in crisis

The Israeli Scouts Friendship Caravan, including 10 teens and two of their adult leaders, recently stopped in Oklahoma City and Tulsa to connect with local Jewish communities.
by Carla Hinton Modified: July 24, 2014 at 10:31 pm •  Published: July 24, 2014


photo - 
Israel Scouts visiting Oklahoma as ambassadors of their homeland perform a series of musical skits Wednesday for campers at Camp Chaverim, a Jewish day camp being held at Temple B’nai Israel, 4901 N Pennsylvania. Photo by David McDaniel, The Oklahoman
  David McDaniel -
Israel Scouts visiting Oklahoma as ambassadors of their homeland perform a series of musical skits Wednesday for campers at Camp Chaverim, a Jewish day camp being held at Temple B’nai Israel, 4901 N Pennsylvania. Photo by David McDaniel, The Oklahoman David McDaniel -

Although they worry about their friends and family in crisis in Israel, a group of Israeli teens on a goodwill mission to America are doing their best to spread cheer to Jewish communities across Oklahoma this week.

The Israel Scouts Friendship Caravan, comprising 10 teens and two of their adult leaders, stopped in Oklahoma City for activities Tuesday and Wednesday before traveling on to Tulsa for activities on Wednesday and Thursday.

While in Oklahoma City, the teens performed an Israeli-themed musical production for the Jewish community at Temple B’nai Israel, 4901 N Pennsylvania. They also performed the show for campers at Camp Chaverim, a Jewish day camp being held during the summer at the temple.

The group danced and sang, smiled and laughed with young campers at the temple.

One of the Israel Scouts, Gal Solomon, 17, said the interactive performances helped the teens do their part to evoke positive impressions about Israel, though he said they have been uncomfortable being away from their homeland because of recent violence there.

The teen referred to the recent turmoil in the Middle East, with Israel pitted against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Solomon said the group has been traveling across America since May and has already been to New York, New Jersey, Mississippi, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Alabama and Louisiana.

Though they are concerned about their homeland, their dedication to their roles as ambassadors is paramount, Solomon said.

“It feels really important for us to be here, especially now,” he said.

“At the start, it was really weird for us when we got the news about home — it’s messy back there. What we are trying to do with our show is to show the good side and to support our country.”

Maintaining a connection

Mirit Hadas, one of the group’s leaders, said the Israel Scouts Friendship Caravan program brings Israeli teens to the United States each summer where they serve as ambassadors for their country. Hadas, 23, said she came to America as a scout several years ago.

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by Carla Hinton
Religion Editor
Carla Hinton, an Oklahoma City native, joined The Oklahoman in 1986 as a National Society of Newspaper Editors minority intern. She began reporting full-time for The Oklahoman two years later and has served as a beat writer covering a wide...
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