Sephardic Enrichment Program

February 06, 2024

Dear Solomon Schechter Family,

The Sephardic Arts, Culture, and Culinary Enrichment Program (Omanut) represents a vibrant addition to our summer camp curriculum. Focusing on Sephardic heritage, encompassing arts, culture, culinary traditions and history, this initiative embodies the heart of our Jewish history that has not yet been fully explored at camp. 

Many members of our community proudly identify as Sephardic Jews, and they have expressed a desire for a more inclusive representation of their heritage within camp. Our program aims to connect campers with Sephardic Jewish roots, explore their creativity, and deepen their Jewish identity. The art of the Sephardic culture is a testament to creativity, beauty, and tradition. Through this program, campers will be introduced to Sephardic arts, which is a unique expression of our heritage. The exploration of Sephardic art will serve as a catalyst for imagination, creative expression, critical thinking, and personal agency among our campers.

We will hire an artist-in-residence who will spearhead the development of an immersive Sephardic arts and culture curriculum, and guide campers through various artistic mediums. Campers will have the opportunity to create authentic Sephardic art pieces that reflect the rich tapestry of Sephardic culture. From intricate hamsas adorned with Sephardic motifs to vibrant paintings inspired by Sephardic landscapes, our young artists will immerse themselves in this unique creative journey.

The heart of Sephardic culture is deeply entwined with its culinary traditions, influenced by the Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and North African cuisines. Campers will have the opportunity to explore Sephardic cooking through hands-on experiences. From crafting mouthwatering Sephardic dishes to understanding the cultural significance of each recipe, our campers will embark on a culinary journey that resonates with history and flavor. A few dishes include:

  • Borekas – savory pastries filled with ingredients like spinach and feta, cheese, or ground meat. Borekas are a common Sephardic snack or appetizer.
  • Sofrito – A tomato-based sauce often used as a base for stews and rice dishes. It typically includes onions, garlic, and a variety of spices.
  • Mujadara – A comforting dish made from lentils and rice, often seasoned with cumin and topped with fried onions. It’s a staple in Sephardic and Middle Eastern cuisine.
  • Shakshuka – A flavorful dish of poached eggs in a tomato and bell pepper sauce, spiced with cumin, paprika, and chili peppers. It’s a favorite breakfast or brunch option.
  • Cuscuz – A refreshing salad made with couscous, colorful vegetables, fresh herbs, and a zesty lemon vinaigrette dressing.

Including these dishes in our curriculum can not only teach students about Sephardic Jewish culture but also provide them with an opportunity to explore new flavors and cooking techniques. We will accompany the cooking lessons with discussions about the history and significance of these dishes in Sephardic Jewish traditions.

Our curriculum will also include in-depth lessons on Sephardic cultural history. Campers will learn about the historical roots, traditions, and contributions of Sephardic Jews to the broader Jewish heritage. They will gain a profound understanding of the Sephardic narrative and its enduring impact on Jewish culture.

We recognize that for many campers, this program will be their first encounter with Sephardic heritage. As they immerse themselves in Sephardic arts, culture, and cuisine, they will not only develop a deeper connection with their own identity but also foster an appreciation for the rich diversity within the Jewish community.

In addition to its cultural enrichment, this program aligns with our strategic goals of increasing Jewish camper enrollment, retention rates, and expanding our reach to new campers. By offering an authentic and immersive Sephardic experience, we are confident that we will draw more campers and families to our camp, thereby contributing to the vibrancy of our Jewish future.

The Sephardic Arts, Culture, and Culinary Enrichment Program promises to be a transformative journey for our campers, fostering a profound sense of connection, pride, and identity. We invite your support in making this program a reality and ensuring that it leaves an indelible mark on the lives of our campers. Together, we can celebrate the rich tapestry of Sephardic heritage within our Jewish community.


Zach Duitch