When I arrived in Tel Aviv in October, I thought the following three months would play out like this: classes, internship, research, some new casual friends, and an anecdote or two about what I would be studying – “conflict in the Middle East.” It seemed like a typical semester abroad. But that’s not what I wanted from my time here. I wanted a deeper connection with this place, a more nuanced understanding of what ails it, and an intimate group of peers to inform my travel and studies. Perhaps more than all of that, I wanted to really get to the heart of my research on sports for peacebuilding. I wanted to see firsthand whether and how all the things I’d been reading about play out in real life and in such an intense place.
Ultimate Peace brought all of that together. I started coaching during my second week in Tel Aviv and it quickly became my main purpose for being here. As an Ultimate player with some experience in the Middle East and in Africa, I had been watching UP for years, impressed by the progress they had made from that initial summer camp to include a year-long program and peer leadership training. I was ecstatic when I was invited to be a part of that. Continue reading
What an extraordinarily complicated and emotional summer it has been thus far. Below is our story from this dramatic camp season and a bit about how we are dealing with the current upheaval in the Middle East.
Due to the 30 days of Ramadan coming early this summer, we had to conclude both sessions of our camp by June 28th. This forced us to schedule the camps to occur right after school in the Middle East ended, and to run them concurrently. We also had to find a new camp site to accommodate the amount of campers and staff. As it happened, we discovered the perfect place, Kfar Silver, an absolutely great fit for Camp UP. Multiple fields with lights, our own pool, a huge gym, nice dormitories, all on a private lush school campus vacated for the summer. Its location, Ashkelon, was a concern from the outset, being 8 miles from Gaza, but we hoped tension would not rise in the region around camp time. We were in for a surprise. Continue reading
Elliot Blumberg writes about disappearing anxieties and the excitement of meeting campers for the first time. Continue reading
Elliot Blumberg writes about the anticipation he and others feel for camp to start.
July the fourth brings a sense of pride and satisfaction for many Americans . It’s a day for fireworks, cookouts and contemplating the conquests of those gallant Americans who came before us. Continue reading