(Pictured) Szarvas fellows from different countries having a discussion about Jewish identity 

always had a pretty clear understanding and point of reference to the
varied summer and school programs that our four daughters participated
in.  Szarvas was the exception! I never expected each of my very different daughters to come home from their summers in Hungary and say it was 110% fun!

The Szarvas Fellowships, directed by Rabbi Seth Braunstein, is for rising North American 11th  and 12th graders and is a pluralistic two-week summer program in Hungary at Camp Szarvas. Camp Szarvas is the JDC-Lauder international youth camp with participants from over 25 countries.  The Fellows are from throughout North America and from every kind of Jewish background imaginable. 

They embark on an intense two-week program which is unique in its learning of our peoplehood, embracing of pluralism and a chance as a North American Jew to reflect and step back while living in a global Jewish community.  The Fellows participate fully in the camp swimming, boating, doing arts and crafts and all the classic camp activities, but also operate as a distinct group with their own programming.

Szarvas has transformed our daughters—as Bratislava and Ostrava are not merely cities that I have heard of in the former Czechoslovakia, but places where her friends Dasha and Boris live, and she knows them as real people, living rich Jewish lives in real places.

As a family, my time in the Wexner Heritage Program overlapped with two of my daughters’ time as Szarvas Fellows and both of our experiences were enriched by the other.  Both of us were stretching our sensibilities and sense of Jewish self at the same time. That’s why I wanted to let all Wexnerim with 16 and 17 year olds know that applications for this summer are live and due February 11, 2015.

And 110% fun?  That is the Camp Szarvas motto and it couldn’t be more true.  And 110% fun is only the beginning.

The Szarvas Fellowships are administered by The Ronald S. Lauder Foundation, in association with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.

Deena S. Borzak, a Wexner Heritage alumna (Boca Raton 07) and her husband Steve, are the proud parents of four daughters and one son-in-law.  Deena is the Southeast Florida Community Outreach Director for My Learning Springboard, a multidisciplinary educational company and learning concierge service, and a proud long-time member of  the Weinbaum Yeshiva High School Board of Directors.  Deena can be reached at dsborz@aol.com.