Halom-8 — Another Family Retreat for 170 Participants During the 7 days of August 16-23, some 170 members of Odessa, Izmail and Simferopol communities enjoyed the Jewish atmosphere of the family retreat coordinated by the International Jewish Community Center Migdal. Eighth in a row, the retreat was as usual carefully planned and organized to meet the expectations of the experienced and new participants, to provide for an educating but not tense atmosphere, and to stimulate further thirst for Jewish knowledge and aspiration for reconnection to the Jewish roots.
Three days before the Retreat's beginning, a team of 10 Migdal teachers and
20 students headed for the camp's site to work out the details of all the days
of the Retreat. This time it was decided that the activities would be focused
on various areas of Jewish art (theatre and cinema, choreography, fine arts,
presentation and speaking skills, etc.). In correspondence with these themes,
the students (that were both madrichim and participants of the Retreat)
designed an array of activities for each day, made decorations, distributed
the roles for improvised performances, prepared surprises, and rehearsed every
spare minute they had.
Other innovations in Halom-8 were professional studios, in which each
participant could be involved: a theatre studio, 3 dance studios, painting,
decor, psychological, journalistic, make up studios. Every day the campers
could sign up for any studio they wanted.
The opening of the Retreat took part in the evening of the first day and
consisted of the performance by the madrichim's team, presentations of
teachers, original split of the participants into 4 teams. The following days
were full of sessions and discussions, presentations of the teams in the form
of the Jewish opera, comedy, circus, tragedy, silent movie, and ballet (such
forms provided excellent opportunities for all the ages to display their
talents and achievements). All those wishing also enjoyed a seminar on Israeli
dances held by a professional who just came from London seminar; later they
had competitions in 7 nominations presenting original versions of such
traditional dances as waltz, Latina, rock-n-roll, tango, gipsy dance and
Besides all these activities, as usual, there was traditional Kabbalat Shabbat
with traditional candles, khalot and nigunim and... a very non-traditional
exhibition of paintings that were made by the women (while the men were
praying) without using brushes and paints, not to violate Shabbat rules.