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Robert Sarner, front row, second from
right, enjoyed his summer at Tamakwa.
It is the quietest, most reflective
time on the camp's busy schedule.
Each week, members of a different
cabin stand before the camp commu-
nity and express their thoughts and
feelings about a chosen subject. The
simple,- moving ceremony concludes
with a reminder of the evening activi-
ties on tap, called the Hobby Hub.
A few days earlier, I had offered to
lead an open discussion on Israel for
the Hobby Hub. But on Friday, hear-
ing the other options available, I
wondered if anyone would come to
We were, after all, at summer camp
after a long, action-packed day.
Surely, developments in the Middle
East could not compete against the
dizzying choice of other activities:
fortune telling, Irish folk dancing,
arm wrestling, mind reading, separate
talks on professional hockey and the
Simpsons TV show, a home run derby,
a canoe outing and something billed
as "back tickling."
To my surprise, 25 campers and
staff showed up to talk about Israel.
The group included campers and
staff of all ages, both Jewish and gen-
tile, from Canada and the United
States. One of Tamakwa's two senior
directors also came.
After giving a five-minute introduc-
tion, I posed several questions and
threw the floor open to discussion.
The response was impressive. I was
amazed by the degree of interest in
Israel and concern for its well-being.
People asked me about politics in
Israel; whether Prime Minister Ariel
Sharon is popular; do the Arabs really
want peace with Israel; about military
responses to terrorism.
One 10-year-old girl asked: "Is the
U.S. really on the side of Israel?"
Staff members asked about the histo-
ry of the conflict, the future of the
West Bank and the Gaza Strip, about
Palestinian grievances and about the
motivation of suicide bombers.
People were particularly curious to
know how my family and I cope with
living in Jerusalem in the face of so
many terrorist attacks, and why we
stay in Israel.
The session was supposed to last 45
minutes but went on twice as long.
Over the next few days, campers
and staff engaged me in further dis-
cussion about Israel and several
requested I host another session soon.
People also asked our three children
about Israel and practiced their
Hebrew with them.
Being at camp in Canada is a wel-
come reprieve from the strife back
home and an extraordinary experi-
ence for us; one that wouldn't have
been possible if Tamakwa's two own-
ers, Detroiter Vic Norris and ex- .
Detroiter David Bale, had not been
so receptive to having an Israeli fami-
ly as part of their camp community.
The hospitality and concern for
Israel shown to us by Tamakwans
made us feel far less far from our
• Firee o
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