A word from the founder

RONEN HOFFMAN

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I remember the moment that the idea first came to me to create Kimama. It was at the height of Israel Day activities at the Jewish summer camp in Atlanta that I went back to every summer as a Jewish Agency shaliach when I was studying at Tel Aviv University.

Israeli songs were playing in the background – the smell of pita and za’atar wafted from the taboun oven we’d constructed in the dense American forest. I looked around and saw the other Israeli Shlichim, my friends, getting the American campers excited and involved in activities aimed at opening their hearts and bringing them closer to the Israeli spirit and experience.

“This is really nice,” I thought. “We, the Shlichim, are bringing a little piece of Israel with us to America in our backpacks: a few posters, a few tapes, a few pictures, an accordion… it’s really very nice.”

But at the same time I asked myself: “Why just bring Israel to America? Why not do it also the other way around?” And immediately realized what I need to do: “Wouldn’t it be a lot more incredible – though a lot more challenging – to bring American teens to the real thing: to create international summer camps for them in Israel, to let them experience a full summer with their peers, from Israel and the rest of the world, on the Israeli shore, to support them with an amazing group of Hebrew-speaking Israeli staff, to help them acquire the sense that Israel is their home… not only in America, but mainly in Israel.”

Over a few years, I let the idea ripen in my mind and from there, it all unfolded: I recruited an amazing team of young educators, a group of friends who helped me hone the business and marketing concept – and we set out on the wonderful journey of creating Kimama.

Kimama, which has created – and will continue to create – so much good for so many people, and for Israel.

Founder: Dr. Ronen Hoffman

Educator, academic, diplomat and entrepreneur.

Served as Member of Knesset in the 19th Knesset; within this role, he worked diligently to promote ties between Israel and North American Jewry; lectured for many years at the school for government, diplomacy, and strategy at the Reichman University; specialist in Israeli foreign policy; served as a team member during peace talks with Syria; co-founder of the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism.