Israel Scouts Friendship Caravan to give community performance at the JCC on July 19

By: Lynette Errante

The Israel Scouts will perform on Thursday, July 19, at 7 pm, at the Jewish Community Center, 500 Clubhouse Rd., Vestal. Their performance will be followed by refreshments and a meet-and-greet with the Scouts. The Scouts will spend the day with the campers at Camp JCC playing traditional Israeli games. The evening performance will be free to the community, but RSVPs are appreciated by calling the JCC office at 724-2417, ext. 110.
Founded in 1919, the Israel Scouts were the first Zionist youth movement in Israel and the first egalitarian Scouting movement in the world where boys and girls participated together. The first delegation was sent to the United States in 1958. Today, the Israel Scouts, Tzofim, remain the only non-political youth movement in Israel and are supported mainly by the Ministry of Education and Culture.
Like Scouts throughout the world, the Tzofim are said to be “always prepared” and learn the principles of “working with spirit” and “providing community service.” Out of 60,000 Tzofim throughout Israel, only 100 are chosen annually for the Tzofim Summer Delegation.
The Tzofim Friendship Caravan travels throughout North America, visiting summer camps and cities. In representing Israel, the Tzofim Friendship Caravan members use song and dance as their means of expression. The Caravan features 10 teenagers and two adult leaders.
To become part of the Friendship Caravan, the Tzofim must go through a four-tier elimination process. They are selected on the basis of personal interviews, their knowledge of Israel, English communication skills, general group interaction and leadership abilities.
After they are selected to be part of the Friendship Caravan, the Scouts rehearse weekly for four months in Tel Aviv under the direction of entertainment professionals. By the end of the rehearsal period, they are said to have attained the level of a professional entertainment troupe.
The Caravan’s performance will convey Israeli culture, music and tradition, bringing with them a message of peace and friendship. Their professionally choreographed song and dance routines are charged with natural enthusiasm and energy. Audiences are encouraged to dance, sing and enjoy the spirit of Israel.
“Camp JCC campers and counselors look forward to this event every year,” says camp counselor Jil Foster. “The Scouts get the crowd dancing and singing along with them, it’s so much fun!”