By Judy Maltz
The Trump administration’s crackdown on visas to foreigners could include an unlikely victim: Jewish summer camps.
According to recent reports, the government’s plan to cut or end the J-1 visa program, which benefits a wide spectrum of foreign workers, would also target those employed at summer camps. Israelis have long been a key fixture at Jewish summer camps across the United States.
“Participation of Jewish counselors and staff from Israel and other countries in the J-1 Camp Counselor and Summer Work Travel programs is critical to the mission of the Jewish camp field – and the American camp experiences as a whole,” Jeremy Fingerman, CEO of the Foundation for Jewish Camp told Haaretz.
“Elimination of these cultural exchange programs would have a drastic impact – both educationally and operationally – on the many programs we support,” he warned.
Each summer FJC offers support to more than 300 summer camps serving more than 200,000 Jewish children, teens and young adults.
Fingerman said FJC is acting in coordination with the American Camp Association, the Jewish camping movements (including the JCC Association, the Union for Reform Judaism and Ramah) and the Jewish Federations of North America to try to block the move.