Interview with Rabbi Dovid and Mrs. Chava Goldstein of Camp Machanayim

How did Camp Machanayim begin?
Camp Machanayim, Summer Camp Programs for the English speaking Charedi community in Eretz Yisrael, was established 30 summers ago by Rabbi Dovid and Mrs. Chava Goldstein from Har Nof, Yerushalayim.

Mrs. Goldstein reminisces, “As new Olim, we saw that frum children from English-speaking homes in Yerushalayim, particularly in Har Nof where there were so many families like ours, lacked the summer camp opportunities that have been a staple of the American frum community for decades.” Rabbi Goldstein’s many years of experience in Chinuch and Kiruv pre-Aliyah, together with Mrs. Goldstein’s vast experience having attended and worked in summer camps from an early age, helped them understand that what Eretz Yisrael’s frum children needed was a “structured, fun, creative and exciting, American-style, English-speaking, summer camp experience, with-a-strong-emphasis-on-good-middos and appreciation and enthusiasm for Torah and mitzvos.”

How has the Camp developed?
Machanayim is now world-renowned as a leader in the field of summer camps in Eretz Yisrael. With legions of happy campers to its credit, it now boasts several summer camp programs for Talmud Torah boys and Bais Yaakov girls, including: Camp Machanayim day camp for boys; Bnos Machanayim day camp for girls; Bnos Machanayim T.A.B.s (Teens At Bnos Machanayim); Machanayim for Special Kids in the day camps; Separate Golan Adventure Sleep away Camps for boys and for girls; Bnos Machanayim International/YAALE Touring Camp Program; and Camp Machanayim “In English for Hebrew Speakers”.

Who are the campers and the counselors?
The campers come from a wide variety of neighborhoods and cities throughout Eretz Yisrael and even from countries abroad. The common denominator is that our campers are Bais Yaakov girls and cheder, talmud Torah and yeshiva ketana boys.

The members of our staff are talented, warm and experienced graduates of the best yeshivas and Bais Yaakov high schools and seminaries from around the world. They represent important role models for their campers as bnei and bnos Torah, a tremendous responsibility. Rabbi Goldstein explains: “Along with their natural talents, skills and experience gained from being campers themselves, our staff is trained to give their campers attention, support, encouragement and challenges in order to be the very best that they can – and all in a positive, fun, growing environment. The connection between counselors and campers extends far beyond their summer experience, with counselors strongly encouraged to stay in touch with their campers throughout the year. The Goldsteins remark: “Years ago we coined a phrase: ‘Machanayim! A summer experience that last all through the year!’ Relationships begin during camp, but the ‘real’ relationships are cultivated afterwards and can last for many years to come.”

Parents who attended Camp Machanayim now send their children to have the same positive experience. As they stand to register the children, they can be heard humming the camp songs from their youth!

Tell us more about the high-quality experience at Camp Machanayim.
With small bunks and a capable and dedicated staff of Counselors, Co-Counselors, Junior Counselors Specialty and Technical staff, a high level of personal and individual care is offered. Everything possible is done to identify campers’ strengths and allow their uniqueness to shine out. Rabbi Goldstein explains that children of any age – and indeed adults too – are most fulfilled and happy when challenged to go beyond what they thought they could accomplish. At Camp Machanayim, the goal is to teach the skills needed to succeed, and provide the support and encouragement for achieving one’s best. Campers’ self-confidence and self-image are boosted by the mere challenge and endeavor, so they are given the chance to “take the challenge” at every possible opportunity and grow socially, athletically, and creatively; and in their middos and especially in their relationship with Hakadosh Baruch Hu.

Mrs. Goldstein adds, “We do this through all of the exciting sports, creative activities, trips, swimming, and plays; and especially, in the girls’ camps, with the greatly anticipated Machanayim Camp Theme.” The girls’ camps feature a variety of creative activities, such as the famous Bnos Machanayim camp songs, dance, food decorating, contata, a full program of Arts and Crafts, and so much more. While the boys, for their part, are interested mostly in sports, swimming, leagues, challenging hikes etc., they also enjoy plenty of creativity in Arts and Crafts, during Bunk Day Presentations, Night Activities, Color War and more. Both camps feature a full swim program, but the more developed professional Swim Instruction Program is emphasized in the girls’ day camp, because mostly the boys just want to play in the pool!

What do you enjoy most about directing Machanayim?
The happy faces on all of the Machanayim Campers throughout the years! We are grateful to Hakadosh Baruch Hu for all of the simchah that our campers have experienced over the past thirty years and b’ezrat Hashem it should continue for another thirty.



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