BNEI Akiva Sydney’s winter camp took place last week for the first time in three years, with nearly 100 chanichim attending from years 2-10.
The camp’s theme, Machane Chazara, focused on returning and repetition, as kids learned about the recurring loops in life, the importance of returning to Jewish values, and the potential of history to repeat itself.
From a jam-packed schedule, highlights included junior chanichim enjoying a life-size Jewish-themed game of Monopoly (“Bnopoly”); colour war for the intermediates and seniors; and the complete Shabbat experience with ruach, learning and games.
While Bnei Akiva runs programs on a weekly basis, such as Shabbat afternoon activities and weekly learning, camp is always the highlight of the calendar.
Merakez (president) of Bnei Akiva Sydney Doron Lewin said the movement being able to run a camp after three years was “very exciting”.
“There was a big gap in an educational sense and an excitement sense with COVID … We weren’t able to entertain and teach kids Jewish values and ideas that are outside of what is taught in school,” Lewin said.
“Especially for kids that don’t meet each other because of different schools or where they live, [they] are able to gather around again and make more friends and get more involved in the community at large.”
Rosh machane (head of camp) Danya Lewin said, “The camps are something so special … You come on camp and there’s this massive rush of life you just don’t get without it.
“Camp is something that really has the potential to re-spark a movement.”
The madrichim and chanichim are looking forward to summer camp in December, which will take place for juniors in years 2-6.
Bnei Akiva is a Religious Zionist youth movement focusing on the values of Torah, avodah and aliyah, learning and living Torah values with an emphasis on Israel.