Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Meet Sara K., an Out-of-the-Box Bais Yaakov Girl

Ruchama Schnaidman

She told me that living in Moscow for a year was going to be absolutely nothing like camp, and that I should expect it to be a lot of work, without the excitement of camp to go with it.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016


Photo: Shutterstock

Kol hamekayeim nefesh achas b’Yisrael… k’ilu kiyem olam malei. 

Meet Sara K. from Los Angeles, who goes to Russia to share her love for Yiddishkeit and ignite her passion among our sisters living there. Sara has worked in camp in Russia and has spent a year living in Moscow. This summer will be her seventh summer in Russia. 

Hi, Sara, please tell us a little bit about yourself. 

I’m 23, born and raised in Toronto, and currently living in Los Angeles. I am an out-of-the-box Bais Yaakov girl who’s passionate about Judaism and about sharing that enthusiasm with others. I also love to travel. 

When did you first get involved in working in Russia? 

I was in junior high when I first heard that my youngest aunt, who had just finished school, was planning to go to camp in Ukraine. I remember thinking that sounded like something I wanted to do. When I entered high school, I started hearing girls talking about Mrs. Chana Leah Rapaport, an 11th-grade teacher who runs a camp in Russia each summer. Over the next couple years, I heard her speak at different events, and her anecdotes about camp in Russia strengthened my resolve to one day experience it for myself.


In 11th grade, Mrs. Rapaport taught me world history and she soon became my favorite teacher. Toward the end of the year, I asked her about the camp, and although it didn’t work out for that summer, I was finally able to join Camp Etz Chaim in the suburbs of Moscow as a counselor the following summer, when I was 17. That was back in 2010, and baruch Hashem, I’ve had the opportunity to attend every summer since. Once I started, I simply couldn’t stop! 

What were you told before you went to live in Moscow? 

Like I mentioned, I first went to camp as a counselor for three weeks. I had an incredible experience, and when Mrs. Rapaport mentioned at the end of camp that they were looking for madrichot to live in Moscow for a year, I knew instantly that I wanted that privilege. So, an entire year before I was privileged enough to take the trip of a lifetime, I sat down with Mrs. Dvori Mandel, the one in charge of the apartment, to learn more about the job. 

She told me that living in Moscow for a year was going to be absolutely nothing like camp, and that I should expect it to be a lot of work, without the excitement of camp to go with it. She explained that the apartment is a safe space for Russian girls to come to learn about, explore, and practice Judaism in a way that they can’t or won’t do at home. Basically, we were to be informal educators and teach the girls how to live as frum Jews through our positions as role models. That meant preparing Shabbos for the girls who moved in for the weekend, helping out in school for different events and programs, and most importantly, being someone the girls could look to for support, guidance, and encouragement as they developed their personal relationships with Hashem and Judaism.

Related Stories

Money Matters

Ahuvah Sofer

Like it or not, money affects much of our lives. In a new series, Teen Pages teams up with Mesila to...

No Water Allowed!

Rhona Lewis

We use waterproof things all the time, and you’ll find them especially useful in camp. How waterproo...

Teen Fiction: Out of the Classroom

Rikki Ellinson

I’d been waiting for those magic words to happen, and jumped out of my seat. Six periods down, two m...

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

Top-Down Theory
Shoshana Friedman Our true currency, the accomplishments we value most
Strive for What Binds Us
Yonoson Rosenblum The chareidi community represents something of an oasis
Embracing Victimhood
Eytan Kobre Combating the allure of victimhood
The Kids Are Going to Camp, the Parents Are Going Broke
Miriam Klein Adelman Mindy has to feel good; it doesn’t matter that I feel ba...
Work/Life Solutions with Carlos Wigle
Moe Mernick “Rejection is Hashem’s protection” 
How to Create a Simple 900-Page Novel
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman All of us can reset the titles of our own lives
Stand There or Do Something
Baruch S. Fertel, MD, MPA, FACEP It’s called collaborative care, and it works miracles
I'm Here — Are You Ready?
Riki Goldstein Upbeat and catchy, but still makes listeners think
Back in Time
Riki Goldstein "I wish I could recapture that excitement"
Mixed Messages
Riki Goldstein The unsung craftsmen who give albums their special touch
Go in Peace
Faigy Peritzman Inner peace makes us vessels for blessing
All Work and No Play
Sarah Chana Radcliffe A life only about doing your duties loses all its color
Dying to Believe
With Rav Moshe Wolfson, written by Baila Vorhand Emunah peshutah is the force behind Jewish continuity