HDCA Newsletter – December 19, 2021

MBI 2022 – Now Open For Registration!

We are happy to announce that registration for MBI opened on December 3rd, 2021. While last year we joined the NFTY Mitzvah Corps for a trip shared with NFTY staff and teens, this year we are creating a trip that is tailored specifically for HDNA chanichimot.

*Please note that we are still working with NFTY to confirm our tailored itinerary. The language on the NFTY website linked above is the generic trip description and does not yet reflect our unique HDNA itinerary.


We’ve partnered with NFTY to create a 4-week trip for anyone interested in engaging with Israel through a Habonim Dror lens. Teens can expect the iconic Israel experiences, from hiking Masada to exploring Jerusalem, with an emphasis on values-based education and deep engagement with dilemmas of modern Israel. This trip gives our post grade-10 chanichimot the opportunity to connect with Israel and its complexities, to meet their national kvutza, share their camp traditions and make friendships that will last a lifetime. See more details below:

WHEN: June 30th-July 27th (4 weeks). We specifically selected these dates to give as much time as possible for chanichimot to participate in programming at their machaneh after MBI, as we know machaneh retention is a top tier priority!

TUITION: Thanks to our partnership with NFTY and RootOne, participants are eligible for a $3,000 tuition voucher that brings the cost of the trip down to $5,425 USD.

STAFF: The staff for this trip will be a combination of North American madrichimot from HDNA & Israeli madrichimot from our sister movement Hanoar HaOved VeHalomed. Having HDNA tzevet helps us to offer an authentic Habonim experience while in Israel!

BUSES: We expect to have two buses that will be travelling together on the HDNA MBI itinerary. Buses will be mixed by machanot, but participants have the opportunity to make bus requests, so everyone will have the opportunity to share their experience with old friends while making new friends as well.

ITINERARY: The base itinerary that we are working from is NFTY’s 4 week “Adventure Trip”. This trip starts in Tel Aviv and then travels south to hike in the Negev and snorkel in the Red Sea. They then head north, exploring several cities including Jerusalem and Tzfat. In the final days, they head back to Tel Aviv for some final beach days & kvutzah bonding. This base itinerary is still very much subject to change as we work with NFTY to include classic MBI experiences, such as rafsodia, meeting with peers from our sister movement in Israel, meeting with Givat Haviva or Ir Amim for education around the occupation & the conflict, walking tours of mixed cities with discussions on building a shared society, etc.

As indicated, various machanot are planning pre- or post-MBI programs which will be open to all of their 10th graders, including those who did not go on MBI. In addition, Gilboa and Tavor are working together to offer alternative programming in the United States and hope to create an opportunity for 10th graders to connect with their National Kvutzah. Stay tuned!

What’s Up with Workshop 71?

Our 19 Workshoppers are almost halfway through their journey in Israel! For two and a half months our Workshoppers lived on beautiful Kibbutz Ravid: working in kibbutz orchards, going on day trips to learn about the history of different Israeli cities, taking classes on Zionism, Israeli society and Hebrew language, and relationship building within their kvutzah. They shared these experiences with gap year participants from Habonim Dror Australia, Habonim Dror New Zealand and Habonim Dror UK. Getting to share this first portion of Workshop with Habonim Dror members from around the world has been a truly unique and meaningful experience!







At the end of November, the Workshoppers said farewell to Kibbutz Ravid and made the move to Jerusalem! During this first week they’ve gotten to explore the ancient city, touring the Old City of Jerusalem and learning about its significance in diverse religions. During Hanukkah, they set off on a tiyul (hike) in the Negev. They hiked through the ruins of the ancient city of Mamshit and climbed to the desert Oasis of Ein Advat.


At the end of this month, our Workshoppers will move on to the last leg of their gap year in Haifa! This portion of the program is focused on leadership development and service learning, in addition to continuing their kvutzah process, Hebrew language lessons and experiential education in Israeli society. Each Workshopper will receive a volunteer placement in a school and a ken (movement youth center) where they will partner with our sister movement as madrichimot for Israeli youth. Not only does this offer another window through which to learn and connect with Israeli society, it provides invaluable leadership training for madrichimot returning to work at their local machanot in summer 2022!


Workshoppers Learn About the Conflict with the New Israel Fund

Workshoppers participated in a seminar led by the New Israel Fund that focused on understanding the occupation and the conflict, and provided resources on how to better educate about these issues back at machaneh. Hear what Noa Schleifer, a Workshopper from Machaneh Miriam has to say about her experience in the NIF seminar:

The NIF Seminar was an extremely meaningful and important part of Adama for me personally. We experienced various types of education, including lectures as well as siyurim that were more hands-on. One moment that stood out to me was when we went to East Jerusalem. I had heard about the occupation and the conditions there various times throughout previous years, but it didn’t fully set in until we had the chance to see it with our own eyes. I also appreciated the different speakers who came to talk to us and gave some type of hope for a brighter future with less conflict and more justice and equal rights.

This is the first year that Workshop is running this Jerusalem component (called Adama), including the NIF seminar. A central reason that we added this component to Workshop was to address feedback from past participants about a lack of education around the occupation and the conflict. We are very happy to hear that this opportunity has provided meaningful educational experiences for our Workshoppers that will better prepare them to return home and engage in discussions around the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and the occupation. To learn more about the specific content included in Adama, please reach out to Kaela Evenchick, HDNA’s Programs Director, at programs@habonimdror.net.

Mifgash Follow-Up

Once again, thank you for joining us for our Virtual Summer Mifgash. As we reported in our last newsletter, mifgash participants identified “recruitment/fundraising” and “mental health issues” as the most critical issues for HDCA to focus on in the coming year. The greatest and most pressing challenge seems to be mental health issues affecting both campers and staff. As a result, HDCA plans to convene camp board members, professional staff, tzevet members, mental health professionals and members of mazkirut artzit to draft suggested guidelines and protocols to assist the machanot in handling these difficult situations. This could include professional staffing guidelines; registration protocols; training for madrichimot on mental health issues; what level of staffer should handle what type of problem, etc. The goal is to create a community of support within HDCA on mental health issues.

We have also created this “Best Practices” google drive which will allow machanot to learn from and help each other on various issues, including health and mental health protocols, fundraising, personnel, marketing and PR, job descriptions and many other areas of concern. We will ask the machanot and HDNA to forward materials to us for inclusion. Please encourage your professional staff to share their great ideas by emailing us at chair@hdcamp.org .

Additionally, we are considering various staff retention ideas including creation of an alumni internship network; as well as enrollment strategies.

Please be in touch if you are interested in contributing to any of these efforts – we will need a lot of volunteer muscle to carry them out!

FJC Internship Opportunities for Tzevet

As we continue to search out recruitment and retention strategies for tzevet at our machanot, we thought we’d bring this announcement from the Foundation for Jewish Camp to your attention. Let’s all stay alert to information and application details that will be forthcoming.

From Our Workshop Participants

A day in the mataim (orchards) of Kibbutz Ravid, by Josh Campbell (Machaneh Galil)

We woke up at 5 AM and continued to pick mangoes until around 12 PM. The task: fill 8 Dolevim ( a very large bin that is lifted by tractors) with mangos. I don’t remember much about the first three Dolevim. I remember feeling like it didn’t feel like labor and was just raw fun. I was so focused and so in the zone on picking mangoes that everything else felt external. The first thing I did when we started picking was rub mud all over my hands and clothes. By doing this, I was letting go of my privilege of cleanliness and accepting that for the next 6 hours I would be bonded to the land and dirt. It gave me a strange sensation of freedom; I didn’t care that I was dirty, hot, sweaty, and generally disgusting. I knew that once I had that “it is what it is” attitude, nothing could bother me.

The next thing I remember is feeling good after my group (Me, Cat, Uri) finished our third Dolev.I had soooooo much fun climbing the trees to reach the high up mangos and also rolling aroundd in the dirt trying to get the lowest of the low hanging fruits. 



It was so fun to be completely engulfed in the trees and stumble across giant enclaves of mangos. It was so satisfying to find one and then pick like 12 mangoes in 30 seconds. During our fourth dolev, I remember thinking, “we’re almost halfway done!” After we filled around a third of our 5th Dolev, we discovered that we had picked all the mangos we could and we moved locations, with the help of Sam. By the end I was feeling so satisfied, energized, and accomplished that I wanted to pick more mangos. really could have gone for another hour, maybe more.



We all definitely worked really well as a team, and I think I was a big part in setting the group culture. I felt one with nature in a way. It amazed me that trees exist, and grow fruits that can sustain us. What did I learn today? I learned that I am capable of pushing myself physically. The satisfaction and energy I felt when we were done is honestly indescribable. I learned that I can be a capable leader by just doing what I do and leading by example. I learned that I am capable of establishing a culture of teamwork and determination while working really hard and having fun at the same time. I learned that I should be confident in my ability to pursue physical labor and not sell myself short. I learned about the importance of good pacing and not burning yourself out too quickly. I gained a new appreciation for the process of growing produce and the labor that goes into it. I learned that there’s a whole lot of spirituality to be experienced from putting your hands in the dirt and connecting to the consciousness of the planet earth. That’s all I can think of for now. Hands down the best day of Workshop for me. Now it’s time to chill.

Workshop in Jerusalem, by Jonah Greenhut (Machaneh Gesher)

Our first two weeks in Jerusalem have been filled with settling in and exploring the city. Week one allowed us to dive into all that Jerusalem has to offer, especially with the freedom allotted by a city (lots of cool walks and street art!). One highlight from that first week was touring the Old City and learning about Messianic Jews. This amazing day culminated with attending the menorah lighting at the Kotel. Another highlight was the New Israel Fund Seminar. This 3-day seminar included a plethora of guest speakers, a visit to East Jerusalem, a dance party with DJ Ramzzy and Mousse Raps, and an exciting visit to the Knesset. The seminar started some good conversation about the complexities of Israeli society that I am excited to continue.

And…. your hardworking co-chairs finally meet!

Sharon and Alisa at Farmers’ Market, Los Angeles, December 2021