Educational Resource Library

Gan Nashim

by Judith Belasco
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Download Gan Nashim

During camp, girls spend more time outdoors and in physical proximity to each other, as girls eat, sleep, and play together for weeks and months. Camp can provide an opportunity to create a positive, supportive community instead of an environment where girls compare bodies, wondering how they measure up, or fall short, against their bunkmates, and fostering a breeding ground for disordered eating.

Gan Nashim: Growing Strong Jewish Girls is a health and cooking program which draws upon Jewish tradition to address contemporary challenges of having and maintaining a healthy diet in today’s world. The program specifically focuses on teaching conscious and healthy eating with a Jewish spirit and is designed to be used in camps in a variety of different formats. With an overt focus on healthy eating, Gan Nashim includes hands-on activities and exercises which build skills that the girls can bring back home to support healthy eating throughout their lives.

In the summer of 2012, the following camps piloted Gan Nashim:

  • B’nai Brith Camp, Oregon
  • JCC Ranch Camp, Colorado
  • Camp Tawonga, California
  • JCA Shalom, California

For more information about running Gan Nashim at your camp, please email

Sample Program

Unit One Shmirat Ha’guf – Taking care of our Bodies focuses on the big Jewish idea that shmirat ha’guf  derives from the teaching that human beings are create in the image of G-d (Genesis 1:27). Since we are created in the image of G-d, then we must be careful with our bodies and take our health seriously.  The campers explore what they are already doing to care for themselves as a foundation for learning more about healthy eating.  Unit One Cooking is Yummy Icy Pops. While the ice pops you buy are often filled with lots of unpronounceable ingredients, these pops are all made only from ingredients you can recognize. These homemade pops encourage campers to enjoy the sweetness found naturally in fruit and the individual pops allow for easy understanding of an appropriate portion – one pop is the serving size.

Download Shmirat Ha’guf – Taking care of our Bodies

Gan Nashim is a camp adaptation of the work done by Catharine Steiner-Adair in Bishvili: For Me and Full of Ourselves: A Wellness Program Advancing Girl Power, Health and Leadership. The Hadassah foundation has provided generous support for the creation of Gan Nashim.

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