The New Jew / Hayehudi Hachadash

Each summer, hundreds of people come together at camp to create intentional Jewish communities. Active, eager creation of personally meaningful Jewish experiences happen every day.

Camp is filled with longstanding traditions that carry over from year to year, but every summer is different. Each summer, every member of the camp community is actively invited to contribute to the “newness” of being Jewish. How will we as staff participate in creating this intentional Jewish community? How will our identities be enriched by our summer experiences? How will our offerings enhance the camp’s Jewish journeys of discovery?

Think about some of your practices and traditions. Yours, your parents’, your grandparents’… Everything from holiday observance and traditions to food and life cycle. What aspects of your story do you wish to bring, which do you think will resonate, and why? How do we become enriched by the merging of everyone’s ideas, perspectives, traditions, desires, and understandings? We invite you to consider these questions and more, as we prepare for our upcoming summer.


The New Jew (Hayehudi Hachadash) is a series of documentary portraits of the American Jewish community as seen by Guri Alfi, a well-known Israeli comedian and actor. He spent a year living in the US and teamed up with Moshe Samuels, former shaliach at B’nai Jeshurun Synagogue in New York, to explore compelling models of Judaism that thrive across America. The title of the series plays on the term that was almost exclusively used to describe the revolution and product of Zionism, as “Israelis” romantically reclaimed their identities and prowess in the years before and after independence. The series expands this understanding to include new identities and forms of Jewish community being created across America, as new generations create new expressions of Judaism to meet their contemporary needs and values.


Guri’s journey is emotional, amusing, and remarkably inspiring, and we hope these clips open portals of engagement into deep and meaningful conversations among staff and campers alike. As we watch each of the clips, consider:

  • How are his experiences impacting Guri?
  • How might Guri’s journey be seen as a parallel to your own journey at camp?
  • What are some things about being Jewish that you are still learning or that you want to explore?


This clip shows college students who share similar experiences with camp staff and campers. They choose to lead with their Judaism, in their own way, despite the antisemitism they face.
  1. What resonates with you in this clip?
  2. What is “Jewish” about this clip?
  3. What aspects of being Jewish make these students proud? What aspects of being Jewish make you proud?
  4. In what ways do these “characters” feel familiar to you? In what ways do they feel different?


Rabbi Jamie Korngold, known as the Adventure Rabbi, created Adventure Judaism with the goal of putting meaning back into Judaism for many unaffiliated Jews.

  1. What resonates with you in this clip?
  2. Think about how Guri experienced the Adventure Rabbi. What impact did this outing have on him?
  3. How do you react to the young people in the clip? Do they remind you of your campers?. In what ways do they feel familiar to you? In what ways do they feel different?
  4. If you had had an opportunity to prepare for a bar/bat mitzvah in this way, might you have signed up for it? Why? What aspects of it are enticing to you? What aspects are less interesting to you?


Rabbi Angela Warnick Buchdahl serves as the Senior Rabbi of Central Synagogue in New York City. She is the first Asian American to be ordained as a cantor or rabbi in North America, and the first woman to lead Central’s Reform congregation in its 180-year history. Rabbi Buchdahl has been recognized nationally for her innovations in leading worship.

  1. What resonates with you in this clip?
  2. What is Rabbi Buchdahl’s relationship with Israel? What is Israel’s relationship with her?
  3. Imagine you’re sitting with Guri and Rabbi Buchdahl. What would you like to ask her? What would you like to ask him?
  4. What might your participation in such a community look like?

Give each participant two different colored slips of paper. On one, ask them to write an observation or memory of “how Jewish” occurs at camp that is different to what they are familiar or comfortable with. On the other piece, ask them to describe a memory or event that inspired them at camp last summer. 

Place all the slips in two piles and invite participants to pick one from each pile (ideally not their own) and discuss with a partner.


  • What did you notice about the things written on the two different slips of paper?
  • In what ways have these things continued to influence your life?
  • Think about a “Jewish” tradition or a practice that you’d like to share this summer.
  • Think about an “Israel” tradition or a practice that you’d like to share this summer.
  • How have your camp experiences shaped your Jewish identity?

Once again, invite participants to fill in two slips of paper:

  • Slip 1: One question I still have.
  • Slip 2: One (program) idea I have and am ready to run with.


  • Enable participants to encounter models of “New Jew-ish” practice and expression, both in Israel and in North America.
  • Explore the innovation and excitement of immersive environments as compelling playgrounds of (new) Jewish experiences.
  • Understand the relational concept of the New Jew, how it relates to and describes both the North American and Israeli experiences.
  • Equip participants with tools to engage North Americans and Israelis in conversation around understandings of contemporary Jewish citizenship.
  • Provide methodologies to engage in a dialogue where all participants have what to bring and what to learn.
  • Invite humility through on-going learning and growth that will occur as participants work together


  • Staff will be better prepared to work collaboratively to create programs and opportunities for campers (and staff) to engage with, and learn about, Israel.
  • Staff will appreciate the place of Israel in the camp environment and more broadly in the North American Jewish landscape, and be prepared to work together to enrich Israel engagement and experiential opportunities in the camp setting.
  • Staff will have opportunities to gather around complex topics that will deepen their understanding of one another and foster meaningful relationships.


The New Jew was written and created by Guri Alfi, Barak Cohen, Dudi Cohen, Asaf Nawi, Moshe Samuels, and Dror Vaidman. The series was directed by Daniel Adar, produced by Nawipro, Inc., and funded by Kan 11, Gesher Multicultural Film Fund, Maimonides Fund, Ruderman Family Foundation, Avi Chai, The Jewish Agency for Israel, UJA Federation NY, and the Jim Joseph Foundation.

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