Growing up, there was a relatively large amount of Israeli immigrants intertwined with my synagogue and local Jewish community. It seemed that people leaving Israel ended up congregating around my synagogue. The majority of my Hebrew/Sunday school teachers were Israeli for example.
Also, the Jewish summer camp’s staff had a pretty high percentage of Israeli folks, particularly people either in the IDF or recently coming out of it. Now I remember them talking about some sort of program that allowed them to serve the remainder of their draft working at the camp, but after googling a bit I honestly think this is a false memory as I’d assume if this was a real thing it’d be pretty publicized.
In fact, I haven’t been able to find any information about my experiences growing up and the relationship I saw between my synagogue and the local Israeli immigrant population. I sort of assumed that my experiences were pretty universal as far as American Jews go, but after doing some research I’m starting to think that my area just happened to have a pretty high population of Israeli immigrants and they just happened to go to my synagogue.
So I guess my question, particularly for American Jews, is did you grow up around a lot of Israelis? And furthermore, does anyone have a shread of information about the IDF and American Jewish summer camps. The more I think about it the stranger it is that at least a third of the staff was former/current members of the IDF. Maybe it was just a Coincidence but it just seems odd to me