7.13 (111) On Tuesday night and Wednesday, campers in Bogrim, Machon and Tikvah took part in a special experiential education program designed by Israel educator Carl Shrag, along with the aidah staff. For the past eight summers Carl has helped campers learn about Israel by simulating historical events. Past simulations have included the events leading up to the Six-Day War, a model Knesset, and the impact of pogroms on immigration to 1940s Palestine. This year the campers simulated an event that may happen this fall — the effort by the Palestinian Authority to seek admission to the United Nations.

  For the past week, the aidah staff has been working with Carl to educate themselves on the topic, learning about the different perspectives and motivations of the parties involved. The resulting simulation is, as Carl described, "a cross between Model UN and fortune-telling."

  7.13 (182)On Tuesday night, campers listened to presentations to get an overview of the situation and the differing perspectives. On Wednesday, the campers were divided into over 20 groups representing different countries, non-governmental groups, and advocacy organizations with strong opinions on the topic. They learned about their group and held meetings with others who supported their opinions and worked to sway groups with differing opinions. The day concluded in a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, including various demonstrations.

Carl believes a program like this is important. "We are giving campers an opportunity to learn and engage with issues from a variety of perspectives…By helping campers and staff understand perspectives that are different from their own, we're helping them get a deeper grounding in their own personal beliefs and in their own communal beliefs." The campers have the opportunity to play different roles in these simulations. "They come away from it with a greater appreciation of diversity of views and a much deeper understanding of why they feel the way they do."