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Camp Kimama: Bringing an Israeli Touch to a Berkshires Hallmark

Thousands of Israeli kids look forward to spending their summers at one of Kimama’s many locations across the country.
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March 10, 2022

MONTEREY, MASS. — Thousands of Israeli kids look forward to spending their summers at one of Kimama’s many locations across the country. Now the Berkshires are about to get a taste of Tel Aviv. Kimama is bringing an Israeli touch to Camp Half Moon, a century-old summer camp located on Lake Buel.

Nicknamed “The Best Little Camp in the Berkshires”, Camp Half Moon transferred ownership to Kimama in December, 2021. Half Moon opened its doors in 1922 and for almost 100 years, the camp has brought joy to children from all around the Northeast. Campers from as far back as the 1950s remember swimming in the lake and late night campfires. When Kimama Half Moon opens in June, a new generation of campers can enjoy everything this wonderful location has to offer.

Kimama Half Moon will operate both a day and overnight camp. The day camp will be open to children ages 4 and up, while the overnight camp will be available to campers ages 7 to 17. Overnight campers can choose between one, two, and three-week stays.

“Camp Half Moon is a staple of the Berkshires summer camp world and we are excited to add the Kimama touch to this iconic institution,” said Avishay Nachon, Camp Kimama’s CEO. “With a few improvements, we’re creating a modern, international summer camp that will inspire Jewish and non-Jewish campers alike.”

That “Kimama touch” involves bringing their team of Israeli staff to run the camp’s traditional activities, which include water sports, arts programming, and outdoor activities. The camp will also integrate Hebrew into the camp’s daily activities and run Israel-inspired programming, such as Maccabiah (Israeli Olympics).

The decision to open a new camp in the Berkshires couldn’t have come at a better time. For most of the past two years, the pandemic has kept children indoors. With playgrounds closed and schools operating remotely, in-person interaction has been hard to come by. Parents have struggled to balance work and childcare, and many are yearning for a break.

“Camp has always been about meaningful interactions between campers,” said Arnon Rabin, Vice President of Kimama. “We’re excited to open a new camp at a time when that is needed more than ever. At Kimama Half Moon, campers can form real friendships that last a lifetime.”

Kimama will be hosting an event to celebrate the opening of their first overnight camp in the US.  The event will take place on Sunday, March 20th at NORTH by Eyal Shani in NYC and will include a full brunch, camp activities for the children and a Purim costume competition with a grand prize of a free week of camp at Kimama Half Moon.

An international camping experience

Campers at Kimama Half Moon will become part of a thriving and diverse community. That’s because Kimama is an International network that brings Jewish children and teens together from around the world.  When Ronen Hoffman, founder of Kimama (today Israel’s Ambassador to Canada) founded camp in 2004, he wanted to bring American-style sleepaway camps to Israel. Since then, the camp has expanded to locations in Spain, Italy, Austria and the New York metropolitan area. In Israel, Kimama runs 3 summer camps and 9 different programs under the supervision of the Ministry of Education.

Oftentimes, campers will choose to mix up their experiences and try different Kimama programs each year. One summer could be spent on beautiful Lake Buel, while the next could be on the beach in Israel. “We want to offer campers the opportunity to see the world and experience all of the beauty in it,” says Nachon. “It doesn’t hurt to have fun and make some good friends, too.”

Last year Kimama launched its Ambassador program for Jewish teens from North America looking for an international experience all while connecting with their Jewish roots in Israel.  The program combines Kimama’s camp experience in Michmoret with a road trip across Israel. Thanks to a generous grant from RootOne, campers from non-Orthodox day schools can receive a voucher of $3,000 to attend the program.

Want to spend your summer at our newest camp in the Berkshires or adventure across Israel? Registration is now open for Kimama Half Moon and the Ambassador program — sign up now!

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