gpg Cross-Regional 1

International Grants



J.Academy Camp is a unique camp for children ages 8-16 from Russian-speaking Jewish families in the Toronto area. The camp aims to connect teens and pre-teens from Russian-speaking families, introduce them to Jewish world culture, and help them discover their Jewish roots through engagement in creative arts, interactive activities, and sports.

Launched in the summer of 2010, J.Academy offered its participants five areas of interest that served as lenses for Jewish discovery: theater, dance, journalism, design and marketing. For the majority of participants, J.Academy was their first experience with the culture of North American Jewish camps and with Jewish educational programs. A number of Russian-speaking counselors were trained to conduct informal educational programming at the camp and, as part of their professional training, also developed a unique camp curriculum. Such training not only served as the core of camp preparation, it also provided counselors with the know-how needed to create similar programs in the future.

Between 2011 and 2015, programming has been expanded to include photography, social science, entrepreneurial mentorship, aerobics, biking, tennis, floor hockey and a newly designed counselor-in-training (CIT) program. Special attention is given by J.Academy organizers to ensure that the sense of community created during camp continues to endure after camp through a variety of post-programming options, including continuing the work of the journalism group on the publication of the J.Wave magazine (created for campers by campers), Rimon, a year-round informal education course for camp staff, volunteer work by CITs, monthly community-wide Shabbat and holiday celebrations, Family post-camp Shabbaton, and more.

Financial support for this program is provided by Genesis Philanthropy Group along with the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto, the Jewish Agency for Israel, the Foundation for Jewish Camp, and contributions from parents.


Goals and Objectives

  • Build a cohort of Russian Jewish young adults and provide them with an opportunity for hands-on leadership experience at camp.
  • Create multiple opportunities for teens from Russian-speaking Jewish families to have meaningful Jewish experiences and further their Jewish knowledge.
  • Help teens from Russian-speaking Jewish families identify with the Jewish community.