Jewish Identity

Children working together to do good
jewishidentity

Family Participation in Jewish Institutions Research Project

Our Impact

10,540
Jewish campers attend Federation-supported Jewish camps in our local community and at 140 Jewish camps across the former Soviet Union.

19,000
Jewish students on 11 campuses throughout Greater Washington were afforded robust programs and activities that connected them to Jewish life.

4,700
families strengthened their connections to Jewish values through educational, creative and meaningful programming for parents and children in our community.

4,500
teens strengthened their Jewish identities through their participation in seven Federation-supported youth groups.

The Story

Capital Camps Counselor

Miriam “Mim” Kahn grew up in an observant home in Rockville. Though her family kept Shabbat and she attended Hebrew school, Mim always felt different from her peers at her predominately non-Jewish school. She was constantly explaining to them what it meant to keep kosher and observe Shabbat. At the age of 8, that changed when she experienced the power and joy of Jewish summer camp during her first summer as a camper at Capital Camps, a partner agency of The Jewish Federation.

For the next nine summers, those four weeks of the year became the most special and memorable times of her life. “For me, the best part of camp was the friends I made. I loved getting to see the same girls and counselors each summer. Shabbat was pretty special, too. It was nice to get to slow down, let go of stresses, reflect and be around the people you care about.”

When Mim aged out as a camper she knew she wasn’t ready to leave camp, so she joined the Leadership in Training (LIT) program, followed by a summer in the Counselor in Training (CIT) program, and today at the age of 23, Mim serves as the coordinator of the camp’s CIT program. “The relationships I make with my campers are some of the most meaningful I have in my life. I care deeply for them. I stay in contact with them throughout the year. My campers are like my kids. This year, twenty-nine of them joined me on staff, and it felt great to see the wonderful counselors that they have become.”

When Mim reflects on her experiences at Capital Camps, she says what she appreciates most is the way that camp enables each camper to discover Judaism in their own unique way. It recognizes the differences we have and allows us to celebrate and find meaning. “I’m glad that we can help campers explore their Jewish identity and become more connected to Jewish life.” Thanks to the support of The Jewish Federation, Mim and hundreds of other Jewish youth in the Greater Washington area experience the joys and impact of Jewish overnight camp.