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It’s summer camp time again!

Thousands of young Jews from around the country will be attending an assortment of summer camp offerings hosted by five Jewish youth movements during the December holidays. The camps range from a choice of a week or two at a day-only camp to three weeks on the Cape Coast.





Each camp offers something different, but all movements allow non-movement members, or members of other youth movements, to join in. 

Jewish Report has endeavoured to put together as much detail as possible and where we were not able to get all information, we are including contact details for the heads of the various youth movements, or the rosh machaneh, for all of the camps.

We have given the costs where they were made available to us. In some cases they are already subsidised. In others, deserving campers may be entitled to subsidies – sometimes even a full subsidy for movement members.

Many of the camps are fully subscribed while some still have places.


Guy Hadad is the man to deal with here. “Betar South Africa has decided to revolutionise the camp experience,” Hadad told Jewish Report. This December Betar is hosting a locally-based seminar called Betar Loves Jozi – Summer Edition. “This flexible summer programme allows our chanichim to explore and sightsee the many wonders of Gauteng, while still catering to parents’ needs,” he says.

Some of the highlights of their camp include visits to Sun City, Warmbaths (Bela Bela), Gold Reef City and various tochniot at the Betar bayit with a focus on Zionism, Betar ideology, team building skills and Israel advocacy, says Hadad. The camp runs from December 8 – 19 and costs R3 000 to attend.

Betar madrichim will also be travelling to Israel at the end of December to attend a Hadrachah seminar, hosted by Betar Olami. They will have the opportunity to explore Israel while experiencing the spirit of Jewish life in the land. Some highlights include: Jerusalem and the Kotel, Yad Vashem, The Menachem Begin Centre and The Etzel Museum.

December 2016 sounds like it will be action packed for Betar SA. “We can’t wait to show South Africa what 2017 will bring!” says Hadad.

Contact Hadad on 082-851-3963 or e-mail him at For more information go to or visit them at


Bnei Akiva:

Bnei Akiva’s rosh machaneh, Jordy Sank, was preparing to take off with his sold-out campers when he spoke to Jewish Report this week. Camp Orot Yisrael will be held at their south Cape campsite between December 7 and 26.

One of the highlights of the Bnei camp will be popular entertainer Mathew Mole, who will be spending some time with the campers, and, of course, performing for them.

Contact Sank on 072-955-0046 or e-mail him at or, for more information, go to or e-mail


Gan Yisrael Cape Town:

Chabad’s Cape Town Gan Yisrael Day Camp is a household name among Cape Town’s Jewish community and part of the largest and fastest growing networks of Jewish day camps in the world.

“Many of our campers wait all year to come back to Gan Yisrael!” Rabbi Mendel Popack told Jewish Report. “For 40 years, our camp has satisfied parents and delighted children from all walks of Judaism. Between our exciting outings, activity-packed schedule, great food, amazing spirit and dedicated counsellors, ‘Gan Izzy’ guarantees a wonderful experience for all,” he says. Rabbi Popack can be contacted – but only for 2017’s camp – at


Gan Yisrael Johannesburg:

A few spaces available! Rabbi Pini Pink has been the director of Camp Gan Yisrael at Chabad House since 2010 and has formulated a variety of camps to suit all, starting with day camps and ending with a sleep-over camp.

From December 12 to 23, they will be holding day camps for either one week or two. The (unsubsidised) cost is R675 for one week or R1 200 for two weeks.

Youngsters and girls will be accommodated at Torah Academy, while the boys will be at Yeshiva College. The kids and girls are fully booked, but there are a few places open for the boys’ day camp. Rabbi Pink expects between 650 and 675 to attend the day camps.

This will be followed with an overnight camp at their Uvongo campsite in KwaZulu-Natal between December 27 and January 8. This costs R5 000 including transport. The camp accommodates about 60, says Rabbi Pink, and there may be a few places still open by the time Jewish Report hits the streets.

“In true Chabad spirit,” says Rabbi Pink, “we pride ourselves on being all-inclusive – we are happy to accept kids from non-Jewish schools.” He says he finds it wonderful to see children and teens from different backgrounds interacting.

Contact Rabbi Pini Pink at Chabad House on (011) 440-6600 or 082-341-7485. Their website is


Habonim Dror:

From December 8 to 28, Habonim will be holding their summer camp at their campsite on the Onrus beach in the Western Cape (see their video on JR Online). They are fully subscribed, even though they had slightly fewer vacancies than last year, says David Schwartz, s’gan rosh machaneh of the summer camp.  

Habonim chose to have fewer people, says Schwartz, because it “provides for a more intimate and inspiring three-week experience.” There is an open day on Sunday December 18 when friends and family may visit the campers.

The cost of camp varied, explained Schwartz, “depending on what merchandise one ordered and what travel arrangements they needed, but the cost is around R9 000.”

Schwartz says that Habonim Dror machaneh is a time for hundreds of Jewish youth from all over South Africa to come together to experience a fun and enriching time on what he maintains is the most beautiful campsite in South Africa.

He believes Habonim is the only machaneh that provides Jewish youth with ways to connect to their Jewish identities “in ways that they all find meaningful and that challenge them to live their lives by Jewish values and morals.

“Our chanichim are always busy from their peulot where they learn about Judaism, Zionism, and other Habonim values, to Havdallah parties, and of course our world-famous beach that is a 30-second walk from their tents.”

“Habonim Machaneh is a place for all Jewish kids, and we have no doubt that “Machaneh16” is going to be a resounding success,” he told Jewish Report.

Schwartz is available on 082-883-0871 or e-mail



Netzer is the Progressive youth movement and they will be holding their summer camp in Grabouw near Cape Town between December 12 and 26. Parents may visit on December 18 between 11:00 and 14:00.

All meals served are kosher and there are still a few slots open, or at least there were when Jewish Report spoke to Daniel Norris earlier in the week. The unsubsidised cost is R9 000 with flights or R7 000 without.

For more information, e-mail or phone them on 078-647-1285. Visit their website at

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Anali

    Dec 7, 2017 at 10:47 am

    ‘How inconsiderate, how non Christian to menace, bully, violate the rest of the entire Onrus and Sandbaai area that every December have to endure the loud Shabeen music! Blaring out days on end!!! My goodness, I should not even have to write this comment!!! ‘

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Shabbat Around The World beams out from Jozi



More than 75 devices around the globe logged in to Beit Luria’s World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ) Shabbat Around the World programme on Friday, 15 January.

Whether it was breakfast time in California, tea time in Europe, or time to break challah in Johannesburg, participants logged in to take part in Beit Luria’s Kabbalat Shabbat service.

Among those participating were Rabbi Sergio Bergman, the president of the WUPJ; chairperson Carole Sterling; and Rabbi Nathan Alfred, the head of international relations. Singers Tulla Eckhart and Brian Joffe performed songs from a global array of artists, along with Toto’s Africa to add a little local flair to the service. After kiddish was said and bread was broken, Rabbi Bergman thanked Beit Luria for hosting the WUPJ. The shul looks forward to more collaborations with its global friends in the future.

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UJW Sewing School graduates model creations



The outfits modelled by graduates of the Union of Jewish Women’s (UJW’s) Sewing School were all the more spectacular for the fact that some of their creators had never seen a sewing machine prior to the four-month course.

They were modelled at the school’s graduation ceremony at Oxford Shul on 15 December to much excitement and applause.

UJW executive member and Sewing School Manager Ariane Heneck expressed her gratitude to Chido Tsodzo, the school’s superb teacher, and the event ended with a much appreciated lunch for graduates and their invited guests.

The self-empowerment Sewing School for unemployed men and women was started by the UJW 10 years ago. It now has a small production team of ex-students, and some of its graduates have been employed in factories, while others are selling their own creations.

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Israel Rugby 7s to camp with the Blitzbokke



The thrill-a-minute Rugby 7s have captured the hearts of fans around the world. The Blitzbokke, South Africa’s national Rugby 7s team, ranks second in the world, and is among the most exciting, formidable, and feared of 7s teams.

Exactly 9 191 km away are the Israelis, an emerging rugby nation that has talent, determination, and a world-class coach in South African Kevin Musikanth. Now, these two squads will meet. The Israeli 7s side will be travelling to the SAS Rugby Academy in Stellenbosch to train with the Blitzbokke.

The Blitzbokke will have the opportunity to prepare for the coming 7s rugby season by measuring their skills of play against the Israelis. And the Israelis, well, they will be rubbing shoulders with, and learning from the best in the world and honing their skills for their coming European Rugby season.

“It’s an opportunity for our boys to learn from the world’s best,” says Musikanth. The SAS Rugby Academy is run by the legendary Frankie Horn, a technical expert whose coaching guidelines and methods are second to none in World Rugby 7s.

Musikanth took over as Rugby 15s head coach in Israel in 2018, and in October 2019, he became director of rugby for the Israeli Rugby Union and head coach for the national programmes of both the 15s and the 7s.

Horn visited Israel last December at the behest of Rugby Israel and its supporting Olympic body and since then, the partnership has continued to grow. The upcoming training camp will begin in Israel, where Horn, together with Phil Snyman, the former Blitzbok captain and multiple world champion winner, will spend a week with the players and coaching staff at Wingate, Netanya, the home base of Rugby Israel. They will then all travel to Stellenbosch for a week’s camp with the Blitzbokke.

“We’ve already seen the difference through our partnership with Frankie. Two of our players were spotted by him on his previous trip to Israel, and have been training at SAS on the off-season,” says Musikanth. The two players are Omer Levinson (scrum half) and Yotam Shulman (lock).

Horn, technical advisor to Rugby Israel’s 7s, says “It is a great opportunity for both teams to derive positive benefit from the camp.”

Israel Rugby has been making considerable professional strides since Musikanth took over the reins. Israel 15s played their 100th test match against Cyprus and celebrated with a 34-22 victory.

“We’re in the top 25 in Europe in 15s and in the top 16 in 7s, the toughest, most competitive continent in world rugby,” says Musikanth, “and I can realistically see us setting our sights on the Top 15 and Top 12 respectively in the future.”

Currently, there are three eligible South Africans who are on the Israeli national squad: Jayson Ferera as flanker (Pirates Rugby Club), Daniel Stein as fly half (studying in Israel), and Jared Sichel as prop (Hamilton’s Rugby Club, Cape Town). Eligibility to play for a national team in rugby is stricter than in other sports. One does not qualify just because one has a passport. One has to have had a parent or grandparent that was born in that country or one has to have lived in the country for at least three years.

“With so much Jewish rugby talent around the world, we would be able to put a world-class Israeli national team together if not for the measures that restrict eligibility to national call ups,” says Musikanth.

The Israel Rugby development project was accelerated thanks to Musikanth initiating Bridges through Rugby. This project is the collective effort of a few South African Jewish businessmen who appreciate the long-term vision of Israel becoming a stronger rugby nation. They have come on board to assist with this most opportune tour. National financial support is fixed and, as such, is limited. While the strong players and national coaches will be attending the training camp in Stellenbosch, there will be some that will, unfortunately, have to stay behind.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our players and coaches. To get to see the best upfront and feed off their knowledge is going to be incredible,” says Musikanth. “Everyone is eager to go, of course, but there is a cap to the support we have in place. We would like to take a development u20 squad as well as coaching staff who would carry the benefits of this into the future. A rugby visit to Stellenbosch can change rugby lives in many respects. Stellenbosch is rugby utopia!”

Rugby aside, with the Israelis and South Africans camping together, the question of what will be for dinner after a gruelling day’s training may be a matter of contention. A tussle for whether to serve boerewors or shwarma may result in a scrum in the SAS dining hall to determine the outcome.

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