Home Hospitality – Supporting our Staff

We need your help and involvement in making our Home Hospitality program a success. This program not only offers us the opportunity to demonstrate our Jewish values and shows our appreciation for our hardworking counselors, but also enables us to meet legal requirements connected with hiring international staff.  

The majority of these individuals come to camp on J-1 visas, which requires cross-cultural exchange elements.  Our summer staff Engagement Coordinator creates events throughout the summer to intentionally integrate our international and domestic staff so both groups can learn from one another. Home hospitality, an opportunity for our international staff to stay with a family before camp, during intersession, and on days-off during the summer is another important component of this program. The Department of State provides examples of appropriate exchange activities which can include: opportunities to learn about American culture, history, philanthropy, volunteerism, sports, recreation, etc. Conversations about all of these topics happen naturally when families invite international staff into their homes. 

Those of us who have participated in Home Hospitality for Capital Camps international staff can attest that this is a relatively easy mitzvah to perform. 

  • Our staff are generally looking for a welcoming place to rest on their time off. 
  • Most families offer Home Hospitality to two or four guests, but some can accommodate more. 
  • A pullout couch or air mattresses are fine and some welcome the opportunity to do laundry. 
  • These independent and self-reliant young adults appreciate a ride to the Metro so they can explore the museums in DC or being dropped off at a nearby shopping mall. 
  • Sharing a meal or two together is a nice addition and if staff is staying with you on a day-off during the work week, there is no expectation to alter your regular work routine. 

I fondly remember a group of Israeli staff who stayed with us, walking to and from the Metro from our house and surprised us by making us shakshuka in the morning before they left.    

Home Hospitality is also a powerful way to demonstrate kindness and live our Jewish values. Abraham and Sarah provide us with inspiration for hakhnasat orkehim/hospitality to guests.  Abraham didn’t wait. He rushed to greet visitors and made sure they were comfortable and satiated. Several of our holidays also stress the important of inviting others into our homes.  We begin the Passover Seder welcoming anyone who is hungry. During Sukkot some ceremonially welcome ushpizin (Aramaic for guests) into their sukkah by inviting Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, and Da. Each of these biblical leaders were uprooted and strangers in new lands. And I know my own Shabbat table is enriched when we have guests join us for Friday night dinner.  

We encourage everyone who is able to get involved with Home Hospitality this summer. Being a welcoming and inclusive community is one of the core values of Capital Camps. Please join us by completing this form to let us know how you can be involved.  

Thanks in advance,

Lisa Handelman 

Camp Director