At the Western Wall, prayers are written on small pieces of paper and stuck between the stones. They're not taped on, as above. But this wall is made of canvas. And it's located in Camp Mesorah, in Guilford, N.Y., past the Catskills.
Campers at the religious Zionist institution ended their trek at their homemade Kotel last week following a 21/2-mile "March to Jerusalem" through the camp fields. The route took the 550 youngsters, each supplied with an individualized passport, from Ben-Gurion Airport (where the document received its first stamp), to a kibbutz (where the campers went on a hayride), to Tel Aviv (where they played soccer), to other Israeli cities and finally to Jerusalem, where the Western Wall and Israeli food awaited.
"We were trying to think of a program that would have more positive associations with Israel" in a summer of frequent terrorist attacks, says Chavie Hagler, program director. "We try to incorporate Israel into everything we do."
The camp this summer has sponsored a letter-writing campaign to American officials and Israeli families affected by terror attacks, below, daily recital of Psalms and the videotaping of messages for Israeli soldiers.Campers solicited financial pledges for their marching, with the proceeds going to the One Israel Emergency Fund and an Israeli organization that supports the families of missing soldiers.
The 200 kvitl notes written by the campers, mostly asking for peace in Israel, will be taken to Israel by sabra counselors later this summer. The notes will be placed in the real Western Wall.