By Carl Schrag, Israel Educator

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In mid-July more than 75 Bogrim, Machon, and Tikvah campers spent an immersive day learning about the ideologies that motivated the pre-State underground movements in Israel and experiencing the challenges of nation-building under challenging circumstances.

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Each camper was assigned to one of the movements – Haganah, Etzel and Lehi – and within their groups everyone took on a specific role. Some people were strategists or coders, while others were medics, diplomats, journalists, and storytellers. Working individually, in small groups, and as teams, campers tried to assess how their characters would have behaved in the years leading up to Israel’s independence. At various points during the day, campers from different movements and different roles came together to try to rally support for their views.

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The day was a huge success, thanks to many hours of meticulous planning by a va’ad of five counselors, with significant assistance from a handful of their colleagues. They mapped out an exciting series of activities that helped campers understand the urgency of the underground movements’ work and encouraged them to consider how the experience might influence their own lives today.

After dinner, the three movements engaged in a massive contest that pitted the underground movements against the British rulers in pre-State Israel. The program took place across a vast expanse of camp, and the message soon became clear: None of the underground movements could “win” until they all united around their shared goals and values; much like what happened in 1948, campers learned that they can achieve more when they look for common ground.

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