This article was first published as “Israeli Arab tennis champs bring sport and coexistence to Jewish summer camp” in Haaretz.
As the summer winds down, kids are coming home from American Jewish sleepaway camp and telling their parents all the new things they’ve done. Some will report finally having swum in the deep end of the pool, others that they read Torah or led prayers for the first time. For children who attended some of the Ramah camps, the list also includes their first-ever meeting with an Israeli Arab.
The Palestinian citizen of Israel they met was either Nadine Fahoum, or her brother Fahoum Fahoum. Both are top-level tennis players who have represented Israel internationally and played Division I tennis in the United States.
Ramah, the camping arm of the Conservative Movement, has invited Nadine and Fahoum to teach the sport at its camps in New England, the Berkshires and Canada for the past two summers.
“It was about my teaching tennis, but it was more importantly about exposing the kids to all of Israel,” said 22-year-old Fahoum, who spent a week at one camp north of Toronto and two days at another in Palmer, Massachusetts. “Having me there helps them complete the picture.”
“Some kids didn’t even know there were non-Jews in Israel,” noted Nadine, 23, who spent a week in Wingdale, New York.
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© 2013 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.
Coexistence on the Court