Camp Gan Israel
Birthright Judaism Partners
In 1956, Chabad-Lubavitch (the world’s largest association of Jewish educational and social service institutions) launched Gan Israel, an international network of summer camps, where Jewish children of all ages and walks of life learn to love their heritage while enjoying the best experience that summer camp could offer.
In those days, enjoying a summer camp complete with sports, arts, crafts, and entertaining activities was a novelty reserved for children of families with means. When Chabad founded its summer camps the guiding principle was that every child deserves to gain from the integration of education and camp activities and that no child should be left out. With strong support from communities worldwide, at least half of the children currently attending Chabad summer camps receive partial scholarships.
Gan Israel has grown into the world’s largest network of Jewish summer camps, with close to 197,000 children attending camps in North America, Israel, Europe, Australia, the former Soviet Union, South America, and even Hong Kong.
Over 70% of children attending Gan Israel summer camps are from unaffiliated Jewish households.
Today, Gan Israel offers much more than a traditional lineup, arts, and sports. Many camps now offer scavenger hunts, archery, baking, gymnastics, wilderness survival, martial arts, swimming and water activities, animal and science shows as well as special trips to theme parks, carting or bowling.
In some camps, creative Shabbat overnight trips complement the innovative Jewish educational programs that are the hallmark of Chabad: Interactive and experiential Jewish study, Jewish song and dance, Jewish crafts and a wide variety of activities designed to generate interest in Jewish affiliation and the performance of good deeds.
According to many studies of Gan Israel camps, the real secret of their success lies in their outstanding staff. More than 90% of the 14,200 counselors that staffed Gan Israel summer camps in 2019 attended the network’s summer camps in their youth.
Gan Israel counselors are chosen from across the globe for their warmth and ability to understand and care for each child. Dedicated and experienced counselors of Gan Israel present Judaism to campers in a relaxed, user-friendly manner. Counselors serve as positive role models for the children, and thus cultivate friendships that last a lifetime.
Gan Israel camps enjoy a well-earned reputation, as a trendsetter, with innovative ideas, creative programs, and new activities being introduced continuously.