HDCA Newsletter – December 2023

HDCA Kennes 2023

At the end of October, 45 board members, professional staff and maapilimot from all 6 Habonim Dror camps together with HDNA’s Mazkirut Artzit and the leaders of Habonim Dror Camp Association gathered in Springfield, MA for HDCA’s annual Kennes.  The timing was challenging, as planning a gathering such as this requires input from many constituencies and planning so close to the end of the summer was indeed difficult.

But the most challenging aspect of this Kennes was the tragedy that struck in Israel on October 7 and the ensuing war. Our Mazkirut Artzit was in Israel on that date and we were all affected by the trauma and grief and fear. We debated internally whether we should even hold Kennes. But, as happens at machaneh each summer, the flexibility and creativity and sensitivity of our movement members made for a moving and inspiring community experience.

For those of you who weren’t able to be there, here are some highlights of the program.  Perhaps next year, you’ll join us!

After Kabbalat Shabbat and dinner, we began our time together with an ice-breaker and then we heard stories, successes and challenges from each of our six machanot.







We then heard from our Central Shaliach, Zev Dever, about the work our sister movement in Israel is doing with the children of the evacuated communities.

We ended our evening’s programming with the opportunity to share and reflect on our emotions and feelings around events in Israel. We divided into two facilitated groups led by Judah Altman, Mazkirol HDNA and Guy Brenkel, Shaliach for Camp Galil.

In the ensuing days we heard informative and inspiring updates from HDNA’s Mazkirut Artzit, a message from Michael Hess, Mazkir of World Habonim Dror, and worked together on issues that connect us all.

Hot Topics Chugim

Kennes participants divided themselves by interest to discuss six important topics for HD Camps. On Saturday, each group considered their communities’ goals, successes, challenges and current realities with regard to their topics. On Sunday morning the groups reconvened and proposed next steps.

The topics we focused on were:

  • Youth leadership and professionalization
  • Fundraising
  • Tzevet retention
  • Chanichimot recruitment
  • Gender
  • HDCA

Board Development with Dalia Krusner and Natasha Dresner from JCamp 180

Board members worked with JCamp 180 experts to focus on governance challenges and next steps to help our individual organizations transition successfully into the future.




Improving Year-Round Programming with Zandra Campbell, HDNA Rakazol Chinuch

Maapilimot and professionals worked together on the challenge of improving our year-round programming. The focus of the conversation touched on:

          • goals of programming
  • content of programming
  • engagement/recruitment
  • growth of leadership and participation
  • empowerment/hadracha
  • kvutza building

To celebrate Havdallah we joined HDNA’s week of programming for a zoom Havdallah with the movement – another opportunity to viscerally feel how connected we all are to each other.


Introduction of the HDCA Organizations document to be used to onboard new board members and professional staff. This document lays out the different organizations that make up the Habonim Dror Camp Association. We believe it will be extremely useful for all of our separate organizations.



New Funds for the Movement: Sale of the Institute of Jewish Education Building in Los Angeles

The sale of a historic Labor Zionist headquarters building in Los Angeles has generated funds that will benefit HDNA and some of our partner organizations. We learned how various funds will be used and had the opportunity to give input on how we can utilize this new resource to benefit Habonim Dror camping.



SEE YOU IN 2024!