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Oklahoma City Jewish day camp focuses on faith, fun

Camp Chaverim, a day camp offered by the Jewish Federation of Greater Oklahoma City, teaches faith beliefs, respect for diversity, whimsy.
by Carla Hinton Published: July 24, 2010

"Each child carries his own blessing into the world."

— Yiddish proverb

Young men and women from Israel brought a touch of their homeland to children attending a day camp sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Greater Oklahoma City.

The Israeli Scouts with the Tzofim Friendship Caravan gave a presentation designed to entertain and share information about Israel.

After the scouts' visit, campers created a version of Israel's Western Wall, complete with prayers and comments.

Such is life at Camp Chaverim, a camp that incorporates education and whimsy at the same time.

Pamela Richman, who has been camp director for 12 years, said the camp draws Jewish and non-Jewish children from across the metro area. For nine weeks in summer, campers converge on the camp site at Temple B'nai Israel, 4901 N Pennsylvania.

The young people meet around the flagpole every morning then head to various activities planned by Richman and a group of camp counselors called the Mitzvah Corps.

Richman said Camp Chaverim offers sports, art and swimming, plus specialty camps for youths participating in Scouting and sailing.

Key components of camp help educate campers about Jewish life and traditions.

For example, campers learn a Hebrew "word of the day" each morning through a funny skit presented by one of the camp counselors. Campers in each session help with a tzedakah project to raise money for charity. In keeping with the camp's 2010 "Go Wild" theme, campers at one recent session visited the Central Oklahoma Humane Society. Richman said the youths are raising money for the society by collecting pennies through a "penny war."

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