The most recent victim of coronavirus in the Chabad community is a summer camp, YK Yerushalayim.
The Yeshivas Kayitz saw an amazing start last year with a successful summer, and boys that were eager to come back.
Sadly it was not be for the summer of 2020. Despite opening registration, the Yeshivas Kayitz was forced to keep it’s doors closed due to stringent guidelines set by the Israeli government.
In an email, the camp administrators announced the bad news, saying; “Due to the many unknowns and possible scenarios that may negatively affect camp, we have unfortunately decided to not open this summer. This was a very difficult decision to arrive at, and we have looked at many possibilities and alternatives, however, a summer in Yerushalayim is not something that can be replaced with other experiences elsewhere.”
The camp is run by Rabbi Shmuel Schneerson and Rabbi Yosef Avtzon, who provide a program combining a good learning environment and farbrengens with incredible trips and travels across Eretz Yisroel.
Read the full letter below:
Thank you so much for your patience and understanding while we were waiting to see if we could have proceeded with an unforgettable summer experience for your sons.
Due to the many unknowns and possible scenarios that may negatively affect camp, we have unfortunately decided to not open this summer. This was a very difficult decision to arrive at, and we have looked at many possibilities and alternatives, however, a summer in Yerushalayim is not something that can be replaced with other experiences elsewhere.
Below are the issues at hand that are facing us were we to open this summer:
1) Israel has current restrictions of not allowing tourists into the country at least until July 1st. There is also no forthcoming info when these restrictions will be lifted. Together with other Israel summer programs, we were waiting & hoping that due to Israel doing a great job domestically in controlling the virus, they would open up internationally, yet that that has not been the case. Speaking to some insiders in the Israeli tourism industry, there is a strong feeling now that these restrictions will be in place until August or later.
2) If even one camper, staff member, or anyone that was near the campers tests positive for corona at any point during the summer, the government will most likely require the entire camp to quarantine. We do not want to be in that situation or compromise the camper’s safety ChV. Additionally, being quarantined would essentially deprive us of the fantastic summer the boys would have experienced, as we would not be able to explore Yerusholayim etc. We are a summer program that is constantly moving on trips or activities, and quarantine is not an option for us.
3) Even if Israel were to give permission to enter, we do not know when this would be announced, and if there was a second wave of infections, they may cancel on us a day before we fly or quarantine all incoming travelers (as they just announced TODAY a ban for incoming students after previously allowing them in). There is also an issue now to receive a passport in the US due to the coronavirus restrictions.
We were really looking forward to experiencing a Chassidishe and fun summer in Yerushalayim, and had the entire summer planned and reserved. However, unfortunately, we do not see us having the ability to open our program this summer with assurances regarding the safety and possibility of everything proceeding smoothly.
We will be reimbursing you for ALL payments made until now. In the next few days, we will be processing the refunds of tuition payment, as well as the $95 application fee. please email us if there are any issues or if you have not received it.
We truly appreciate your choice to send your son to YKY and entrusting us with your son’s summer experience. We hope to have your son on our program next year.
Rabbi Shmuel Schneerson
Rabbi Yosef Avtzon