250 children spent eight uplifting days at “Shluchim Shtetl,” a winter camp for shluchim’s children throughout Europe and Asia, directed by shluchim Rabbi Moshe and Shashi Weber of Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine, in partnership with MyShliach.
By Melli Hecht
Over 250 children from around the world gathered together to spend eight days at “Shluchim Shtetl,” a winter camp for shluchim’s children throughout Europe and Asia. The camp is directed by Rabbi Moshe and Shashi Weber, Shluchim to Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine, in partnership with MyShliach at Merkos 302.
The Covid-19 pandemic has made travel and personal interaction extremely difficult. For children growing up on shlichus, these limitations can be especially rough. A positive camp experience like “Shluchim Shtetl” affects them in unimaginable ways.
“We have received tremendous feedback from the shluchim families,” exclaimed Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, Vice Chairman of Merkos L’inyonei Chinuch, “this year more than ever, the camp’s uplifting impact was felt and will surely act as a motivation for their Shlichus back at home.”
A girl’s division with over 100 girls took place up in the Carpathian Mountains. The boys were located in the central city of Dnepropetrovsk, where the Rebbe grew up and is now a center for Jewish life in Ukraine. This year, the camp was hosted in the magnificent “Menorah Center.” The boys were treated with extraordinary care, enjoying their luxurious hotel rooms and receiving top-of-the-line meals and waitering services in the large ballroom.
The camp’s staff were flown in directly from 770, where they study throughout the year and engage the young shluchim virtually on MyShliach’s Chassidus Club. These devoted Bochurim acted as role models and created a meaningful and exciting environment for the young shluchim.
“There are no words to describe the level of devotion the staff showed. Our child returned home feeling proud to be a Shliach and filled with a Chassidishe warmth,” shared the Havlin family, shluchim to Hamburg, Germany. “We are lucky to have such a camp which gives the children a feeling of home and belonging. The staff went above and beyond to make sure every child received the maximum – both physically and spiritually.”
Alongside the powerful Farbrengens and learning program came a whole array of exciting trips. The campers were taken to a nearby sports complex where the boys enjoyed all sorts of sporting activities. The trips also included roller-skating, indoor swimming, bowling and more! One Shabbos afternoon, the boys even got the opportunity to walk over and see the Rebbe’s childhood home and shul.
A special highlight was when Ukraine’s chief rabbi, Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetzky, personally addressed the young shluchim, delivering an inspiring message for the boys. “He shared how each child, in addition to being part of a family of shluchim, is a Shliach in their own right who has the ability to uplift those around them!” relayed Reuven Deitch, a counselor in the camp.
The camp finished on a high as the campers packed into the grand ballroom for a special farewell banquet. Shluchim from around the world spoke, and hundreds of young voices filled the room with song. Every shliach returned home with a renewed sense of strength and pride that will carry out into their shlichus at home.
As Rabbi Sholom Gotlieb, shliach to Nikolayev, shared, “Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for an amazing camp that is so focused and personable towards each child, our child returned home happy and healthy.”
“Shluchim Shtetl” is made possible by the generosity of
Rabbi Shmuel Kamintezky,
Rabbi Moshe and Shoshi Weber,
Rabbi Shmulik Eisenberg,
Rabbi Bentzy Lipsker of Keren Meromim