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JSC Summer Experience | BULGARIA

Volunteer Placements

Children's Summer Camp

The Children's Summer Camp welcomes 220 children from around Bulgaria between the ages of 6 to 17 years old. This 12 day camp is run by a team of 60 volunteers, many of whom were participants as children. These volunteers want to help make the same camp experience for generations to come. At the camp, children truly experience their Jewish identity and come together as a community. Fellows will help lead sessions on Jewish topics and assist with leadership training activities for the Hadracha College. Fellows will also facilitate music and dance activities for children.

Gan Balagan

The Gan Balagan program is for kindergarten aged children from the community. Founded in 2010 with just 3 children, 1 teacher and 1 nurse, today, there are 70 children, divided in 4 age groups. Gan Balagan mixes the educational curriculum required by the state, Jewish education and the Montesori teaching method. This program offers a variety of activities in order to engage children in Jewish education from an early age. Summer volunteers are in great demand, as many teachers take vacation at this time.

Golden Age Summer Camp

The Golden Age Camp takes place every summer welcoming 200 people in their retirement age. During this program, the elderly populations from around the country come together and each community gets a chance to showcase activities. No matter the age, all people need the opportunity to come together, socialize, create activities and have fun! At the Golden Age Camp, days are filled with arts and crafts, singing, dancing and special workshops. In the past, there have even been hip-hop dancing workshops, ballet and movie making!

About the Jewish Community of Bulgaria

Situated at the crossroads of East and West, Bulgaria entered the European Union in 2007. But despite the country's recent growth, it's elderly and other vulnerable populations have struggled, as pension and salary levels failed to keep up with rising living costs. Economic turmoil has also affected middle-class professionals, who have been struggling to find or keep jobs and care for their families.

To date the Jewish community in Bulgaria is around 8,000 with Jews living primarily in the capital city of Sofia, with smaller communities in other parts of the country as well. The Jewish community was unscathed by the Holocaust, thanks to the people of Bulgaria who refused to have them deported. After WWII, the majority of the Jewish community emigrated, and only a small community remained. These Jews subsequently suffered under Communism, when Jewish life was stifled. Since the early 1990's, JDC has been working closely with Bulgarian Jewry, helping to rebuild communal life, and revive the country's Jewish legacy.

What will Fellows do in Bulgaria?

During Gan Balagan, Fellows will:

- Act as general aids in the kindergarten classes
- Teach simple, basic songs in English and in Hebrew to children at ages 2 to 7
- Teach basic English to children ages 5 to 7

During the Children’s Summer Camp, Fellows will:

- Prepare sessions on Jewish topics for the children
- Facilitate musical activities and teach Hebrew/Jewish songs
- Facilitate dance activates and teach Israeli Hora dances

During the Golden Age Camp, Fellows will:

- Facilitate sessions (musical, dancing and possibly art workshops )

Program Dates:
July 6 – August 6, 2017

Application Deadline:
March 20, 2017

General Program Breakdown
Week 1: Orientation Week
Week 2: First Session of Children's Camp
Week 3: Gan Balagan Program Part 1
Week 4: Golden Age Summer Camp Program
Week 5: Gan Balagan Program Part 2
Week 6-7: Second Session of Children's Camp
Week 8-9: Gan Balagan Program Part 3

Desired Qualifications:
• Experience in working with children (ages 2 to 16)
• Experience with adults would be a plus
• Experience in informal education
• Deep Jewish knowledge (including Jewish history and rituals )
• Basic Hebrew knowledge would be a plus, but is not a must
• Experience in leadership training
• Knowledge about Israel
• Background in Israeli/Jewish/Hebrew music and dance (musicians needed!)

Participation Fee: $500 *
This includes:

• Housing
• Group activities and excursions
• Airport pick up/drop off in overseas location
• Meals while at Camp
• Comprehensive health and emergency evacuation insurance
• On-the-ground staff support
• Volunteer placement
• Program activities

This does not include:
• Int'l airfare
• Meals while not at Camp
• Visa (not required for US passport holders)
• Local transportation
• Leisure activities
• Personal expenses

Apply Now

The applications for the Multi-Week Jewish Service Corps - Summer 2017 session is now open!
Fill out this form if you're interested in applying and we will send you an email with the application link!

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Entwine is a one-of-a-kind movement for young Jewish leaders, influencers, and advocates who seek to make a meaningful impact on global Jewish needs and international humanitarian issues. We do this by offering service experiences in Jewish communities around the world, educational events and programs, and leadership development opportunities. Entwine is an initiative of JDC, the largest Jewish humanitarian organization in the world. JDC works in 70 countries, specializing in humanitarian aid, Jewish community renewal and disaster relief. Learn more:

About the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC): For over 95 years, JDC has provided rescue, relief, and renewal for Jewish communities outside of North America, helped Israel meet the needs of its most vulnerable citizens, and offered a Jewish response to natural and man-made disasters and non-sectarian development needs around the world. JDC's work in over 70 countries is inspired by Jewish values of mutual responsibility, that kol yisrael areivim zeh l'zeh (all of Israel is responsible for one another), and tikkun olam, that Jews have an obligation to repair the world. Learn more:

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