children lined up on the beach at night waving their arms in the air
Camp Ramah Northern California campers in song at the beach in 2016. (Photo/File)

7 Ukrainian teens will get a break from war at a Jewish sports camp in California this summer

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(JTA) — Almost a year and a half into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, 13-year-old Artur Dotsenko has become accustomed to sleepless nights. With all the bombings and shellings in his hometown of Kyiv, Dotsenko said he gets about 2-3 hours of sleep each night.

For a few weeks this summer, Dotsenko is leaving war-torn Ukraine for the Pacific coast, where he and six other Ukrainian teens will spend four weeks at Ramah Sports Academy, the Jewish sports camp operated by Camp Ramah Northern California.

The trip was orchestrated by Maccabi USA, the American arm of the Maccabi World Union, the Jewish sports organization that puts on the Maccabiah Games in Israel.

After the war broke out last year, Arnie Fielkow, the former head of New Orleans’ Jewish federation and now a vice president at Maccabi USA, approached Maccabi’s CEO, Marshall Einhorn, to suggest ways the organization could support Ukrainian Jewry.

Jacob Gurvis
Jacob Gurvis

Jacob Gurvis is JTA’s Audience Engagement Editor, based in Los Angeles. He graduated from Boston University, where he studied journalism, Jewish studies, and political science. Jacob has written for The Boston Globe and The Beverly Hills Courier, and he produced an award-winning sports talk show in college. He spends too much time on Twitter @jacobgurvis.